Europe By Eurail 2020: Touring Europe By Train, by LaVerne Ferguson-Kosinski, revised by Darren Price
This is precisely the sort of book I most appreciate when it comes to travel. As a somewhat well-traveled person myself, I seldom need encouragement to think of where I would like to go. Indeed, I am likely to find at least something to enjoy and appreciate anywhere around the world, whether it be excitement and novelty, or ruins or starkly beautiful surroundings or the enjoyment of seeing other people in their home territories and gaining some understanding of where and how others live. A great many travel books feel it necessary to hype travel, and even a book as good as this one, for example, finds it necessary to convince the reader that traveling by rail can be as worthwhile and a lot cheaper than it is to rent a car and drive around Europe with the expense of VAT that is not often considered as part of the sticker price. What this book does and does particularly well is to provide compelling reasons for someone to make Eurail an important part of their efforts to see that continent and some nuts and bolts about how this can be done in one’s trip. And that alone makes this book worth reading whenever one is planning a European vacation in the future.
This book is more than 550 pages long and is divided into various sections by location. The introduction to this book contains about 35 pages and discusses why one should consider rail travel in Europe as well as some notes on how to use this book and some tips on how to obtain passes and get to Europe. After that the author looks at Austria, with a focus on Viena, Baden, Melk, and Salzburg as bases. Then the author turns his attention to Belgium with a look at Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, and Namur. The discussion of the Czech Republic brings a look at Prague, Brno, Pilsen, and Kutna Hora, and the author continues this process in looking at Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey with various cities seen as potential home bases for day trips to various other places. The book then ends with about 60 pages of appendices that include rail-tour itineraries, base-city hotels and information, ferry crossings, international phone calls, passport information, tourist offices, airline and hotel phone numbers, and detailed information about Eurail and BritRail passes, all of which will be of interest to the traveler of Europe.
Not everyone will really enjoy this book, and for a vast majority of readers not all of this book will be immediately relevant. After all, it is rare when someone has the time and resources to travel to all European countries by rail in the course of one trip, and a book this granular in approach has to be revised every year as ticket costs and route schedules change. Admittedly, then, this book is most useful only to those who are planning possible trips to Europe within the next twelve months and want to check out the feasibility of using the Eurail system as part of that trip, whether it is traveling from place to place or looking at the trip from the point of view of base areas as diverse as Porto and Luxembourg City. As the information is granular enough to note which towns one needs to go to in order to get through Lichtenstein, which is an impressive level of detail, it must be admitted, and precisely the sort of information I am looking for myself. And for those who like me are into that sort of detail, this book will be very useful indeed.