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Tales From The InterRails by Peter Gumbrell


This story is a day-by-day account of the trials, tribulations and triumphs of a first-time, single British backpacker exploring western Europe and Morocco with an Interrail ticket, during the summer of 2003. Many thousands of people go roaming each year with an Interrail, Eurail or other train pass, and my own adventures of travelling on a tight budget are retold here for the anguish and amusement of others. From youth hostel highs and lows to French rail strike woes, an attempt to capture a mystery city and a nightmare in a maze-craze Moroccan medina, these frank and humorous tales dig far deeper than a simple diary of train journeys. The novel encompasses varying degrees of euphoria, paranoia and a wry examination of life on the move from a lone traveller's perspective. It will be of particular interest to those who are intent on making similar trips, and is accompanied by many photos. I am currently pursuing the idea of adapting and publishing this story as a standard paperback, and I welcome any feedback.


Interrail 2003 route map


key to route map

original map courtesy of Dr. Michael P. Peterson at University of Nebraska, Omaha


Chapters are divided into each day of my travels. The orange numbers shown in the map above relate to overnight stays at places listed below - click these links to jump directly to any page. Locations in bold indicate those that are more prominently featured in the story, whilst sleeper trains are shown in italics.

journey notes & info for other rail travellers
day 1 Hove - Newhaven - Dieppe - Rouen - Paris
day 2 Paris (Père Lachaise, Montmartre)
day 3 Paris (Louvre, Eiffel Tower)
day 4 Paris - Futuroscope
day 5 Futuroscope - Poitiers
day 6 Poitiers
day 7 Poitiers - Bordeaux
day 8 Bordeaux - Irún - San Sebastián/Donostia
day 9 San Sebastián/Donostia - Salamanca
day 10 Salamanca - Madrid>>Lisbon
day 11 Lisbon - Tomar - Lisbon
day 12 Lisbon - Sintra (Moorish Castle) - Lisbon
day 13 Lisbon - Barreiro - Faro - Vila Real de Santo António
day 14 Vila Real de Santo António - Ayamonte - Seville
day 15 Seville - Córdoba
day 16 Córdoba
day 17 Córdoba - Algeciras - Tangiers>>Marrakech
day 18 Marrakech - Marrakech>>Tangiers
day 19 Tangiers - Algeciras - Granada
day 20 Granada (Alhambra)
day 21 Granada - Madrid
day 22 Madrid - Hendaye - Biarritz
day 23 Biarritz (Anglet, Bayonne)
day 24 Biarritz - Bordeaux - Lyon
day 25 Lyon
day 26 Lyon - Metz - Luxembourg City
day 27 Luxembourg City (Bock Casemates) - Liège - Maastricht
day 28 Maastricht (Zonneberg Caves)
day 29 Maastricht - Liège - Tournai (Beffroi)
day 30 Tournai - Lille - Paris - Rouen - Dieppe - Newhaven - Hove

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to begin, read the journey notes or continue to day 1 >>

The author Peter Gumbrell owns the copyright to all the material on this site (except where indicated otherwise) © 2003-2022. All rights reserved. Click for more info.