After a month away travelling around and experiencing some of the sights and sounds if Europe I’m back in the country. There was so much that I saw and experienced that it can’t fit it in one post so I will try to present some of it in the coming weeks. During the course of my trip I think I used pretty much every type of modern transport. I rode on buses and bikes, caught planes and trains, hopped on trams and in cars, sailed on boats and above them (parasailing :-)) and of course walked and walked and walked and walked.

For a brief description of my trip, we started with a days stop over in Singapore before heading on to Paris. The metro system there might not be the cleanest but boy is it everywhere as there aren’t many places in the city that aren’t more than a few hundred metres from a station. This made it just so easy to get around almost anywhere pretty quickly. From Paris it was a trip up to one of Stu’s favourite places, Amsterdam where I experienced some of the things Stu wrote about in this post. Interestingly I had just finished visiting the city a few days before Stu posted it and had in my head ideas some similar ideas to write about.

Some long distance trains were better than others (this was one of the better ones).

It was then down to Koblenz on the Rhine Gorge to look at some of the old castles that line the river. Our trip then took us to Munich and Vienna, both cities which I think we could learn a lot from. They are also both cities that compete strongly in the the various surveys that rank the worlds most liveable cities and it was easy to see why. It is also important as being at the top something that Len Brown wants Auckland to achieve. We then headed further south to Venice for a bit of watery action before a mid holiday holiday in a little town called Bellagio on the shores of Lake Como. After that it was off to Nice in the South of France along with Monoco (which is just up the road/track) where we had a very Auckland type of rail experience with trains cancelled and frequently running late etc.

Lots of transport modes in this picture, I was surprised by just how many trains used both these lines and the two on the other side of the river.

The next two legs of our trip were the only ones where we didn’t get between cities using trains which meant short hop on a plane over to Barcelona. It actually ended up being our favourite city on the trip as there was quite an interesting blend of old and new buildings, especially along the waterfront. In may ways it reminded me a bit of home and why it is so important that we develop this great asset of ours correctly. We then flew back to Italy for a trip down to Siena, a small town in Tuscany where we stayed at the top of a 13th century castle outside of town which was pretty neat.

The last place we visited in Europe was Rome, luckily the worst of the heat wave they were having had passed so temperatures were only in the low to mid 30°s instead of being up over 40° like it had been a few days before we got there.  We then flew back to Singapore for another night before heading back to Auckland.

I would also like to say thanks and congratulations to all of the other bloggers who helped out while I was gone. I know just how hard it can be hard to put lots of posts together on such a regular basis. Their efforts paid off and in August we set all kinds of new page view records including our highest ever day, week and month (with a little bit more yet to go tonight). Of course also thanks to all of our readers for coming and reading the site along with contributing through comments and guest posts. There are of course some topics that get much more attention than others *cough* integrated ticketing *cough* and August certainly had its fair share of them.

Share this


  1. Oi no mentioning the evil topic of *cough* integrated what? oh ticketing *wheeze* 😛

    Glad your trip was all good.

    Now then onwards with Brownlee pounding the Gold Plated Asphalt again…

    1. I thought you might say that, these were long distance trains though, didn’t see any city trrains, including trains to and from airports that had luggage racks.

  2. Welcome back, sounds like an awesome trip, and an valuable study tour.

    We you see the size of some of those European towns that get regular all day intercity rail service, you realise there is no reason we shouldn’t have at least hourly departures for Hamilton and Tauranga.

    1. Definitely Nick. Hourly train alternating between Auckland to Rotorua and Auckland to Tauranga which would mean a train Auckland to Hamilton every hour.

  3. Welcome back. I was over in France (and Milan for a day) and one thing I noticed was the relevant absence of large cars and 4WD. Did you notice that too? Why do we insist on using such large cars for totally unsuitable purposes?

      1. You’d probably also notice that despite all the ‘socialist’ rhetoric regarding the Europeans, they have a lot of toll roads. Quite interesting I think.

    1. Take a trip to the US and have to opposite experience — the cars there are ridiculously huge! I think people buy the biggest car they think they will ever need, finances allowing.

        1. Yep, and at that point the whole safety feedback cycle kicks in, where you feel like you need to be bigger or be squashed (interesting game-theory problem there…).

  4. Welcome back, Matt L. Sounds like you had a great trip. It’s a pity you weren’t on hand to give me a ribbing about Snapper, but no worries: I got plenty from others.

    Best of luck with getting back into everything.


Leave a Reply