On a past trip, we took the train from Lisbon to Faro. From there, I’d booked a shuttle to reach Seville. That was a long ride, but there weren’t any issues crossing the border.
The rail model in Spain is one I wish we had in more areas around the US. The Philly area has a hub-and-spoke model, while Spain includes the tire. This enabled us to travel along the coast and avoid Madrid.
I prefer that to the practice of assigning cars/seats while people are boarding. That’s been the cause of my worst train trips in the US. Second place goes to rail lines with 20+ cars on the train, but they wait until 15 minutes (or less) before departure to allow boarding.
That’s a good question. In my experience, you can get off wherever you want, but getting back on is the tricky part. When I lived in Russia and traveled through China, the tickets would have the train number and date of travel (if you changed trains you had more than one ticket) and a conductor would punch the ticket to show it had been used. If the conductor was friendly they would tell you if you were trying to get off at a station that wasn’t your stop, but they wouldn’t prevent you from leaving.
The exception is when I lived in Japan. There they had something called a seishun jyuhachi kippu, which allowed you to travel as much as you wanted in one day (over five days/tickets) excluding the express and shinkansen trains. With the ticket you could board any train on the JR system and travel to any destination you wanted. It was a great way to see the country.
That’s the great thing about train travel vs. cars, busses or planes: you’re not cooped up. You can walk around inside the moving vehicle. Really the only mode of transportation that can compete with that is the ship. (And the dirigible, but yeah…)
I am constantly annoyed by the lack of Zeppelins. I care not a fig for the practicalities, I simply want to be wafted along in an enormous, art deco gin palace in the sky while someone plays jazz to me on a magnesium piano.
Yes, the lack of zeppelins in my life is a constant background ache of existence.
You should visit the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen if you ever find yourself in Southwestern Germany. In addition to lots of original artifacts it has a mock up of part of the Hindenburg’s lounge and some cabins and skin. Fascinating stuff and standing in it, it is remarkably similar to the Raiders set…
My first permanent job (after a series of temp gigs) out of the USAF was with a German company’s “wholesale” travel agency – essentially they sold and coordinated Europass, Eurail pass, and other European rail tickets to local travel agencies. That was in the very early 1990s, so they go back at least that far.
Nope, don’t recall any of the details of the tickets, especially as they varied a bit from package to package. I was IT, not an agent. Wouldn’t matter if I did, as I suspect the details have changed slightly in the intervening 30 years.
They still offer the Japan Rail pass for tourists that includes most shinkansen and express but excludes local trains. You can hop on/off as much as you want. Really an awesome deal. We took the Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo and stayed in ryokans in Kyoto, Kobe, Osaka and Himeji.
Indeed, although we should warn people before they rush to Lake Constance (which is a great area to visit in any case!) that while the modern Zeppelin NT is a true zeppelin and not a blimp (i.e. it has a rigid structure within its envelope) it is more akin to a blimp than a zeppelin of old in terms of luxury and space.