This round-up of The Blonde Gypsy Ambition Tour is coming a bit late and my apologies for that. To be 100% honest, I was dealing with a travel burnout and in need of lots of sleep by the end of it all which I kind of expected since I was attempting to cover more ground in one month than I ever had before. Better to burn out than to fade away though, said Neil Young.
Now that I am rested, recovered and ready to go again, it’s time to break things down and put them into perspective since a Facebook photo album here and an Instagram post there could never really express the depth or distances traveled on this particular tour. A map can’t really either, but let’s just start off with one anyway.
If you’re more of a visual person, you may want to take a look at the detailed and interactive version of my final route. For those into numerics, total distance covered was approximately 7179 kilometers/4,461 miles between 14 different countries and 23 cities within 40 days. I made purchases in 8 different currencies and said hello in probably 11 different languages. At my highest, I was around 1,900 meters/6,233 feet above sea level atop Mt. Vogel and at my lowest, 0,chilling on the Adriatic Sea.
I rode around mostly on trains, but also some buses, cars, three ferries and one plane. I stayed in hostels, hotels, apartments and houses. I met up with and made some friends in a few places, but for the most part traveled on my own except to and through Montenegro.
Although I made an announcement about the start of this tour while I was in The Netherlands, I had actually started traveling on my Eurail pass a week prior as I made my way down from Sweden and Denmark to Germany where I spent a few days visiting friends and recharging after my big trip through Finland. I visited four out of five new countries I had hoped to (Montenegro, Slovenia, Luxembourg and Belgium) and while I could have pushed for the fifth one, Bulgaria, I was already exhausted by the last week and the Adriatic Coast turned out to be just too damn beautiful for me to leave. Other stops made included Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina – all of which I had been to before but were in some way or another strategic. I also made it a point to stay in cities where I hadn’t been which gave me a chance to see some of these countries in a different light.
I used all 15 days of my two-month Global Pass in the end and even though I know bigger and faster trips have been taken, I’d say my mission of getting the most out of it in a shorter amount of time was accomplished. This wasn’t just done by covering as much distance as I could (without going insane), but also by being as spontaneous as I could because ultimately I think that was one of the biggest advantages of traveling with a flexible rail pass. I don’t think I ever knew which day I was going to leave each country when I first entered, except in Belgium, Luxembourg and Serbia, and that feeling was wild. Right up any gypsy’s alley for sure and that it all worked out without much planning? Pretty amazing.
Even with a geographic and numerical breakdown, I still don’t think the depth of this trip is clear and it probably won’t be until I get all the blog posts up I intend to on it. But even then…
This was perhaps the most intense trip I have ever taken and though I still prefer traveling slow and will probably not be doing anything like this again soon, at least not in such a short amount of time, there is definitely something to be said about the thrill of trainsetting through Europe. Could be the only place in the world where traveling between several different countries in the same day is possible – not only possible, but common. This is one of the main reasons why I love it so and know it won’t be long before I am back for more.
Our passion are the true phoenixes; when the old one is burnt out, a new one rises from its ashes. – Goethe
Another heartfelt thanks to Eurail.com for providing me with the opportunity to trainset through Europe like never before. Part of this mission was also an experiment in extensive solo train travel on which I will be publishing an article shortly so keep your eyes peeled. More imagery from the tour also coming your way soon.