Note: this is the fifth in a series of Baby Boomer Travel Guides. In our last post, we looked at the options for seeing the Caribbean. Today we focus on means of transport around the Mediterranean Sea.
When traveling around the Mediterranean region, you have a full range of options: taking a cruise ship or ferry boat, driving, taking trains, or flying between destinations.
(If you’re on a guided tour, you’ll most likely be traveling by bus, though other forms of transport may figure in as well.)
How you choose to get around this endlessly fascinating area is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make — maybe the biggest decision — regarding your Mediterranean trip. It will color your entire experience — for the better, we hope.
Each mode of transport has its… Continue reading
Ah, the early ’70s — the halcyon days when I and countless other baby boomers explored Europe (or at least Western Europe) with our trusty Eurail passes, which offered virtually unlimited travel on Western European railways for periods up to three months.
And as I recall, I paid the grand sum of $300 for a three-month pass — and that was for first-class seating.
True, I was usually one of the scruffiest riders in first class at that time — I often used to sleep on the trains to save money, since my budget was the proverbial $5 a day — but in exchange for sharing a compartment mostly with staid businessmen and properly dressed ladies, I had comfortable seating and hardly ever had to stand out or even sleep… Continue reading
Way back in 1971, shortly after graduating from college, I developed an obsession for the paintings of the 15th-century Flemish master Hieronymus Bosch, whose phantasmagorical — sometimes grotesque — artworks appealed to my psychedelic sensibilities of that era.
I spent days in libraries hand-copying notes from dusty tomes about the artist, sought out all of his works in American museums, and eventually embarked on a three-month pilgrimage to Europe determined to set eyes on every Bosch painting on the Continent.
On my target list were 31 museums and churches containing 58 works of art, scattered across a dozen countries and 26 cities and towns from Copenhagen to Vienna to Lisbon.
My resources were limited: a Eurailpass, a copy of Europe on $5 a Day when it was still called that, and a budget to match.
Like many baby boomers, when I was in my 20s I spent a lot of time — sometimes months at a time — riding European trains.
On shorter trips, when I would purchase separate tickets from one point to the next, I would always travel second class, and had some memorable experiences meeting the locals — and, from time to time, having to sleep in the corridors because the trains were so packed.
Once, riding the Spanish trains between Malaga and Barcelona, I spent 24 hours without a seat, standing up, lying down when possible, but having a blast sharing food and drink with my fellow seatless passengers, trying as best we could to understand each other in our respective broken Spanish and English. (Remember, I was in my 20s.)
But on my longer trips around Europe, I would buy… Continue reading