Throughout my exchange in Denmark, I have had the privilege of visiting many other places in Europe and within Denmark as well. It has been incredibly easy to travel to another country and flights can be relatively cheap if booked in advance (about the cost of an expensive Uber on a night out in Auckland), depending on your choice of destination. The fact that you can fly to another country in the same time it takes to drive from Auckland to Hamilton is still incredible to me.
The primary way I got around Europe is by taking high-speed trains. I bought the Eurail Pass which allows you to have a certain number of travel days within a selected period of time, and you can take an unlimited number of trains per travel day. Being able to take an unlimited number of trains per travel day turned out to be more beneficial and stress-relieving than I thought. When trains are delayed (and it will happen), and you miss your connecting train, having the ability to switch to the next departing train without incurring extra costs is a huge perk. I highly recommend this pass to anyone that wants to travel around Europe at a relatively low transport fee.
One instance where having the Eurail Pass has been incredibly helpful is when I travelled from Copenhagen to Venice via trains. The journey takes about 23 hours by train and consisted of taking three different trains, one of which ran overnight (overnight trains take up two travel days). However, my departing train was delayed and I missed my connecting trains. Consequently, I ended up taking six different trains instead of the planned three, but I didn’t have to pay extra and it was simple to select a different train using the Eurail app.
Note that some trains (such as overnight trains) require a seat reservation to travel on, which usually costs around 7 to 13 Euros. It’s not compulsory to reserve seats for most trains but it’s a good idea if you are travelling from one popular destination to the next and the journey is long. You can still travel on the train without seat reservations if it’s not required, but it means that you might not get a seat, and for long journeys, that can get fairly uncomfortable (trust me). On the first leg of my journey from Copenhagen to Venice, I had to take a four and a half hours high-speed train from Copenhagen to Hamburg (in Germany) and I didn’t reserve a seat. Due to the popularity of this trip, there weren’t any unreserved seats and I ended up sitting on the floor with my friend (and with many, many others) for most of the trip.
As uncomfortable as it was, I wouldn’t change a thing even if I could. Experiences like that create invaluable memories that will stay with me for life. The exchange has been completely life-changing, and in four short months, I feel like I have experienced two years’ worth of personal growth and maturation. I hope you also have the opportunity to embark on your own journey someday.
Here are some of my favourite pictures from my journey thus far: