Interrail Postcards

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Episodes

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01Adam Thorpe2011062720120820

The InterRail Pass recently turned 40: five writers recall personal journeys and explore how the changing shape of Europe and the advent of new technology have transformed student travel forever.

The first InterRail Pass was introduced just over 40 years ago - restricted to travellers of 21 or younger and covering 21 countries for a month's train travel.

Five writers of different generations recall the rite of passage of a month's travel with nothing but a rucksack and an InterRail Pass. Each also explores how new technology and the redefined frontiers of Europe and beyond have changed the intoxicating blend of independence and adventure forever.

With his signature blend of lyricism and humour, the novelist Adam Thorpe writes "I'll never forget my trip to Lapland, during which I had the misfortune to be in an all-night sleeper with six Danish girls on their way to be au-pairs in the States...". In his 'postcard' he vividly remembers the sense of absolute arrival into adulthood which the Pass represented, and compares his experiences with those of his own student children.

Producer: Beaty Rubens

First broadcast in June 2011.

Adam Thorpe on the sense of arrival into adulthood which the InterRail pass signified.

02Roma Tearne2011062820120821

The Inter-rail Pass recently turned 40 and to mark the anniversary, five writers recall personal journeys and explore how new technology and the altered state of Europe have changed student travel forever.

It's just over forty years since the Inter-rail Pass was introduced - restricted to travellers of 21 or younger and covering 21 countries for a month's train travel.

For the Sri Lankan-born writer Roma Tearne, memories of Inter-rail travel are inextricably bound up with her interest in frontiers and national identity. While she mourns the loss of a true sense of passing from country to country when she travels in Europe today, she has no regrets for her memories of frequently being ordered off trains and interviewed by border guards simply because she was Asian. And she delights in her memory of shaking off the dull travelling companion whom her anxious parents considered a suitable chaperone for a young woman's first adventures in Europe.

Producer: Beaty Rubens

First broadcast in June 2011.

Roma Tearne on InterRail travel and her interest in frontiers and national identity.

03Charlotte Mendelson2011062920120823

The Inter-rail Pass recently turned 40 : to mark the anniversary, five writers of different ages and backgrounds recall personal journeys and explore how the advent of new technology and the altered state of Europe have changed student travel for ever

It is just over forty years since the introduction of the first Inter-rail Pass - restricted to travellers of 21 or younger and covering 21 countries for a month's train travel.

Charlotte Mendelson explores travelling by Interrail in the early 1990s - just into the era of the new Europe. And at a personal level, she recalls how travel in Europe transformed a timid young Oxford school girl for ever.

Producer: Beaty Rubens

First broadcast in June 2011.

Charlotte Mendelson recalls how travelling by InterRail in Europe transformed her life.

04David Almond2011063020120824

The Inter-rail Pass recently turned 40: five writers of different ages and backgrounds recall personal journeys and explore how the advent of new technology and the new state of Europe have changed student travel forever

It is just over forty years since the introduction of the first Inter-rail Pass - restricted to travellers of 21 or younger and covering 21 countries for a month's train travel.

For this series, five writers of different ages and background have recalled the rite of passage entailed in setting off for a month's travel with nothing but a rucksack and an Inter-Rail Pass. Meanwhile, David Almond - amongst the most popular and thoughtful writers for children today - recalls his parallel experience:

"We hitch-hiked instead, and travelled three summers in a row from Tyneside to Greece, and tried to look down at those who travelled on pre-planned routes in Inter-rail comfort... They were wonderful journeys. But many times, of course - stuck for a couple of freezing nights on a roundabout outside Paris, recovering from a truck crash in Italy, trudging half-starved and penniless across Belgrade with hundreds and hundreds of miles still to go, or simply travelling for hundreds of miles through baking heat with very weird drivers - we lamented the fact that we hadn't stumped up £26 to be part of the Inter-rail adventure".

David Almond is the author of the award-winning children's novel, Skellig, and more recently, of its Carnegie-short-listed prequel, My Name is Mina.

Producer: Beaty Rubens

First broadcast in June 2011.

David Almond on the adventures and misfortunes he experienced travelling by InterRail.

05 LASTDiane Samuels2011070120120830

The Inter-Rail Pass recently turned 40 and to mark the anniversary, five writers of different ages and backgrounds have been recalling personal journeys and exploring how the changing face of Europe and the advent of new technology have altered young people's travel forever.

Diane Samuels is best known for her award-winning play Kindertransport. In the final programme in the series, she recalls travelling with a fellow Jewish school friend and the six hours they spent in Vienna before deciding that, even in the 1980s, Austria was not for them.

Producer: Beaty Rubens

First broadcast in June 2011.

Playwright Diane Samuels recalls travelling to Vienna with a fellow Jewish school friend.