Sunday 4 December 2016

Comment: Why this Australian believes Europe is on the right track with free InterRail plan

Australian Sophie Donaldson hails a €3bn EU proposal to give every 18-year-old a month's free train travel

Sophie Donaldson

Published 09/10/2016 | 02:30

Just the ticket: Sophie (left) pictured with a friend in Ibiza as she took a life-changing trip through Europe
Just the ticket: Sophie (left) pictured with a friend in Ibiza as she took a life-changing trip through Europe

Like the small town equivalent of small man syndrome, I've always considered myself a big smoke kind of gal. I'm exhilarated by vast metropolises and the mass humanity of big cities. Despite this, I hail from a barely-there city myself and so four years on I still find myself surprised to be living in Dublin. The realisation that home may in fact be the last place you envisage is one of the greatest discoveries of travel.

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It's 2011 and I am following love across the globe. After a heady six weeks between London, Dublin, Rome, Berlin, Munich, Dublin again and now Paris, I find myself utterly heartbroken. I'm with my gregarious Bavarian friend Martina staying in the one-room apartment of Swann, a diminutive French artist.

Martina and I go to the Louvre. She drags me to the Mona Lisa who is obscured entirely by an army of smart-phones pointed at the wall. I leave Martina in the fray and find the Napoleon III apartments where I sit for four hours, eyes glazed over with tears, the ornate upholstery blurred to resemble melting Neapolitan ice cream.

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