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Mark Smith's book and website, The Man in Seat 61, is a work of dedicated love for his passion of travel.
I found it extremely inspiring and informative for my journey last year to Greece, by rail and ferry.
Maybe flying is not for you and you're thinking going abroad is impossible without a plane? Think again. This book will tell you in great detail how to get to where ever you want, without the need to fly. It explains what you may encounter and how to buy tickets and the way to explore Europe with railcards.
Recommended routes, avoiding some of the many pitfalls around Europe.
For example : On my journey to Greece I really wanted to go all the way by train, from Manchester. Through reading the book and website I learned that this is extremely difficult. To quote a line from the website, "Greece cut off! Due to its dire economic situation, Greece cancelled all its international trains from 13 February 2011 until further notice, cutting itself off from the rest of Europe. "
So undaunted, I then read up about my alternatives, which were to go by train, to London, Paris, Bologna and Bari, taking the ferry to Patras in Greece. Advised train times, journey lengths and advised ferry times and the best way to get to the port in Bari were all there in the book and on the website.
Even the best way to cross Paris is explained. I caught the RER on line D from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon.
There is an alternative to flying, where you will see so much more out of the train window than the plane window.
If you have been thinking of some serious travel, get a copy of this book and read it and be inspired.