Traveling by train and other digressions

Traveling by train is, in my opinion, a way more interesting experience in comparison to selecting the aircraft solution. This is even more accurate for an outbound journey. Here are first a few ideas related to this topic, followed by several thoughts tackling a wider scope.

First, I think traveling by train is pleasant as the transition between the point of origin and the destination is experienced with much more smoothness and subtility. It is, for instance, possible to appreciate the evolution in terms of scenery. Furthermore, I think train stations tell more about a country’s architecture, lifestyle, and perhaps culture than airports, a kind of infrastructure which might be categorized as functional in the first place with quite little distinctive features between one another.

DSC_2263-minOne highly ranked objective on my to-do list would be to board the Paris-Moscow Express. I found fascinating the idea it is possible to board a train in Paris Gare de l’Est and end up in Москва Белорусская – Moskva Belorusskaya. This is captivating to think of this direct trip while having in mind the singularities inherent to each of these two cultures. Additionally, the idea that on the same platform you can see on one side, one regional train going to Basel, Switzerland, and on the other side this train going so far away is, in my opinion, a beautiful duality. Sometimes I imagine myself mistakenly boarding the wrong train and thus starting an improvised journey across Europe instead of traveling at the regional level. All along this 3,483 km trip, you can harness this time either to chill with your fellow travel companion(s) or to reconnect with your inner self, should you be a lone traveler.

Of course, it is significantly longer, more complicated than the plane. However, I remember the saying “what is important is not only the destination but also the path leading to it”. The experience we are discussing represents, in my opinion, an opportunity to implement this motto and experience Europe at its best in terms of diversity. Such depth in terms of cultural identities is way worth being appreciated, in my belief. The same applies to the journey between Basel SBB and Milano Centrale with astonishing sceneries across Switzerland and Italy.

octavio-fossatti-V77fn37CqOs-unsplashStrengthening ever-more the idea that precisely there is no single vision of the world is definitely a primary objective being fostered. I think Paul David Hewson, more famous by his nickname Bono, has it smartly right in the song “Please” by U2 tackling The Troubles in Northern Ireland. My interpretation of these lyrics is that being convinced only one vision of the world is possible is at best unfortunate for open-mindedness, at worst dangerous for peace. Where does it lead to being “the smartest ass, at the top of the class, [with] your flying colors, your family tree, and all your lessons in history”?

I would answer: nowhere necessarily better in my opinion. The inspiring lyrics of this song advocate evocatively for more tolerance. I am firmly convinced trendy rhetorics stigmatizing other cultures and “the foreigner” as being part of the problem are hazardous.

roman-fox--iVNDAOeXn8-unsplashTurn people on one another will eventually lead to our fallout. I do think it is important to emphasize this is pretty much the opposite. Striving and advocating for more inclusion in our societies will always be meaningful. Diversity is an invaluable chance and represents a never-ending source of inspiration. It is a wonderful alternative to functioning in closed-circuit and indefinitely recycling the same ideas, and “year after year, running over the same old ground, and how we found the same old fears”, as once wrote beautifully and brilliantly inspired David Gilmour and Roger Waters with the song “Wish you were here” by Pink Floyd.

Jules Striffler


U2 – Please: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bono / The Edge
Please (Pop) lyrics © Island Records

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here: LyricFind
Songwriters: David Gilmour / Roger Waters
Wish You Were Here (Live, Delicate Sound Of Thunder) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management, Concord Music Publishing LLC

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