Hit the Rails

Train are the best method of transportation. This isn’t a debatable point. There aren’t multiple possible perspectives on this. It’s simply a fact, and I wanted to be sure all of you dear readers were aware.

What? You need convincing? OK, fine. Here’s why:

1) Low stress.

There’s no traffic, really, when riding the train. (Occasionally there is on Amtrak, but American trains are, of course, worse than trains elsewhere. We can’t do anything properly.) You’re not actually driving, so you don’t have to pay attention. You don’t have to go through endless queues of security. And they’re way less scary than planes or boats. (Whether they should be or not is another matter, but they don’t feel scary.)

2) Not boring.

Flying is so boring (when it’s not terrifying). There’s mostly nothing to see and nothing to do. You’re pretty much trapped in your seat unless you’re walking down a narrow aisle. On a train, you get all this lovely scenery right outside your window. Personally, I like to listen to music while watching the countryside roll by and pretend like I’m in a movie. (On this trip, my favorite soundtracks were Benoit Pioulard, Pinback, and Florence + the Machine.)

between Seville and Granada

between Granada and Algeciras

3) Very comfy.

I find I can make myself at home more on a train than in a car. Maybe that’s because I am generally the passenger in someone else’s car rather than driving my own, and so I get concerned about scuffing their dashboard or spilling soda. But on a train, you get a nice little tray for having picnics.

And sometimes you get your own bedroom.

This couchette was so much more comfortable than the business-hotel bed I’d slept in the night before.

4) Relatively cheap.

I didn’t pay more than $50 for any of the trains I took on my last trip to Spain and Morocco, and those included the high-speed AVE train from Madrid to Seville and the famed Marrakech Express overnight train from Tangier to Marrakech. With gas prices these days, that’s a huge steal.