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Aiming For The Never-Ending Horizon

Pleasantly Not Surprised

BELGIUM | Wednesday, 20 August 2014 | Views [1283]

My first ever train ride in Europe confirmed the pre-conceived ideas I had developed of what train travel here would be like. It was…pleasant.

I was a little sad to be leaving the tragically hip city of Berlin so soon. I had grown a deep affection for Berlin during my five days spent exploring its streets, parks and cafes. But I know I will return one day in the future and that made boarding the train to Brussels a lot easier.

As I found my seat on the very back carriage I was delighted to discover I had been given one next to a window. I would not have to be leaning over a sleeping body to try and observe the countryside pass us by at 237km/h! I nestled into position in the spotlessly clean cabin and stared anxiously out through the glass.

Train Speed

Before we had even left the city centre I was greeted with an image I had seen a thousand times in various undefined pictures - a faded stone bridge spanning a wide canal. So these do exist in Europe! How wonderful!

Soon enough the tall apartment buildings gave way to small plots of heavily vegetated land. Tiny dwellings barely large enough to house a bedroom and kitchen were hidden amongst the fruit trees  and I spotted an elderly man trimming the hedges of his property’s natural fence.

The landscape began to become more sparse and eventually the attractive towns turned into large stretches of green pastures. Maize plantations and harvested crops interspersed with clumps of tall trees reached far out into the horizon, only interrupted by the occasional rolling hill.

Green Countryside

Small dams butted up against the edge of the rail tracks and the ubiquitous black and white spotted cows ate tufts of grass in the way that black and white spotted cows always do.

Not wanting to miss out on any stereotypes, wind turbines spun gracefully every 15 or so kilometres. Surely it wouldn’t be the European countryside without a couple of wind turbines.

The only other thing that broke the intermittent skyline of spinning blades were skinny spires of Catholic churches which I all assume would have been older than the oldest building in my home country of Australia.

Just when I was beginning to wonder who looks after all this farmland and wind turbines and constantly hungry cows, a charming village filled with brick cottages adorned with steep pitched tiled roofs appeared on the outside of my window. I couldn’t see the streets due to the abundance of heavily-leaved trees surrounding each home, but I bet they were cobblestoned.

Small Village

The train meandered quietly through the delightful scenery and life seemed quite simple from the comfort of my seat. The hours passed by quickly as I simply watched the endless scene of pleasantness zoom by. Rather than be disappointed in my first train experience in Europe being exactly how I expected it to be, I was immensely satisfied. I can appreciate the appeal of this form of travel even more now that I have tried it myself. It’s going to be difficult returning to my motorbike parked in Cambodia now.

 Belgian Village

Wind Turbines

Train Church Spire

Thanks to GoEuro for the awesome experience.


Tags: belgium, europe, germany, train

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