May 8, 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of the surrender of the Wehrmacht in Berlin, which brought the Second World War to an end in Europe. As the last remaining witnesses to these dark pages of history pass away, many places of reflection and commemoration are only gaining in significance.
Our favourite train routes from around the world
In these strange times of self-isolation and social distancing we find ourselves in, it’s hard not to feel a little disconnected from the world going on around us. A world which, for now at least, we’re forbidden from venturing out into.
But being stuck in our homes does not mean we have to press pause on our sense of adventure. Travelling is about far more than just transporting yourself from A to B. It’s about discovery and learning and letting your inquisitive side take over. And thankfully you can do all of this now from the comfort of your own home. So grab your phone or tablet or even stream it on your TV and join me on a stroll through some of Europe’s greatest museums, just without the queues and admission fees.
As a student, I would often find myself waiting on the platform at Essen railway station, on my way to university, weighing up whether or not to throw caution to the wind and jump on the train to Westerland/Sylt instead. Whenever I saw the train, the lyrics to the famous German song “Westerland” by Berlin punk band Die Ärzte – a somewhat sarcastic homage to this most touristic and middle-class of German seaside resorts – would run through my head. “Oh I have such a yearning, That I think I’m going insane,” it goes. Sod university, I’d think. “Take me back to the North Sea…” Alas, I never did jump on the train. I was a student after all and I couldn’t afford a holiday anywhere, let alone to the wealthy island of Sylt, where Westerland is located.
The tiny red and white trains of the narrow-gauge Pinzgaubahn make their way slowly through Austria’s Pinzgau Valley for 53 km. Villages and picturesque churches dot the landscape as you head towards one of the highlights at either end of the line – the Zeller See and the famous Krimml Waterfalls, the highest in central Europe.
Making its way through the wilderness of the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve, the short route between the towns of Almere and Lelystad has been voted the most scenic route in the country. It is also an easy half-day trip from Amsterdam Central station.