At the dawn of the 1970s, it cost around $24 to travel from London to Italy. As the train went clickety-clack, rattling through the ever-evolving landscape, two strangers could strike up a conversation over a few slices of shared bologna ham and make it last for a thousand miles. A new breed of traveler was born…
In July 1970, LIFE magazine sent lucky photographer Carlo Bavagnoli around Europe holding a newly price-reduced Eurailpass. His story would follow the budget backpacking set, a new wave of free-spirited American college graduates pondering time off before joining the workforce. They traveled in big groups, made new companions in every direction, slept in the stations and played their guitars while waiting for the next train.
Neuschwanstein castle in Germany, perched atop mountain peak.
Of course, there was always the option of traveling first class too…
Enjoying the view from the “Mediolanum” which sped from Milan to Munich in less than six hours.
Platform of a Portugese train station.
Three American students catching some sleep on Norway’s Oslo-Bergen line.
Why can’t train cars be as fabulously kitsch as this anymore?!
A spanish train flashes past a smill fishing village on its way along an unspoilt Costa Brava.
The new reduced-price second-class Eurailpass promised under 26 college grads a whirlwind tour of Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, as well as the buzzed about must-see new city stop for the backpackers set, Amsterdam!
Train passing over the Porto Rail bridge over the Douro River.
Passport check at the Swiss frontier…
Travelers enjoying the scenery from the observation deck of Italy’s silver-and-green, seven car “Settobello”.
Most likely not included in the reduced-price Eurailpass fare, but how cool is this?! A hairdresser aboard a French train, the Mistral.
A 1925 engine passing over old stone viaduct, transporting tourists from Blonay resort.
Sigh. I fear I may have caught the summer travel bug a little early this year…
Photo story by LIFE Magazine.
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