Sluggish travels: Why not harness your interior Thunberg and journey overland by practice this 12 months

Why not harness your interior Greta and journey overland by practice this 12 months, taking in a few of Europe’s high cultural anniversaries alongside the way in which, says Suzanne Harrington.

Wish to rejoice the brand new decade with a visit? One that mixes journey, artwork and tradition, however not a stress-induced coronary heart assault introduced on by low-cost airways? Maybe your new 12 months’s decision, impressed by Greta, is to fly much less? To journey slower?

Slow travels: Why not harness your inner Thunberg and travel overland by train this year

Beneath is a join-the-dots of a few of 2020’s cultural anniversaries round Europe (and a bit past), all of that are accessible overland with out ever having to weigh and measure your hand baggage. 2020 can be the 50th anniversary of the first-ever Earth Day — so suppose scenic, enjoyable journey, dreamily staring out practice home windows aslandscapes and cityscapes unfurl. Be in no rush, and soak all of it in.


Begin your journey throughout the water, with a bookish flavour. 2020 is the 150th anniversary of the demise of Charles Dickens, who grew up in Kent, round Chatham and Rochester.

The Metropolis of Rochester Society presents free 90-minute strolling excursions of Dickens-related websites, and the city Chatham, regardless of being distinctly unlovely, has restored historic dockyards well-known for rope making and the place Dickens’ father labored as a clerk from 1817. Value a glance. (

Change trains in London and head to Nice Missenden in Buckinghamshire, to the small family-run Roald Dahl museum, the place Dahl spent 36 years earlier than his demise 30 years in the past — youngsters will adore it. (

Slow travels: Why not harness your inner Thunberg and travel overland by train this year

From there, keep it up up north to Keighley, Yorkshire, to catch the final leg of Bronte 200, a five-year collection of occasions celebrating the bicentennial of the Bronte sisters’ births — Charlotte in 2016, Emily in 2018, and Anne in 2020. Their legacy is lovingly maintained on the Bronte Parsonage Museum in close by Haworth, the place they lived and wrote, and there’s a store stuffed with Bronte-related goodies. (

You’ll be able to have an much more immersive expertise by getting from Keighley to Haworth on an precise steam practice.

(On the different finish of England, 2020 additionally sees the 50th anniversary of the world-famous Glastonbury competition in stunning Somerset, however tickets offered out inside seconds of occurring sale. Fortunately, it’s televised.)


2020 has important anniversaries from World Conflict II — it’s75 years since teen diarist Anne Frank died in Auschwitz. From Hull in Yorkshire, take a ferry to Rotterdam, then a 40 minute practice to Amsterdam. The Anne Frank Home, the place she wrote her well-known diaries, is a 20-minute stroll from Centraal Station alongside the canals. Get a guided tour to keep away from queuing, and see the annexe the place the household spent a number of years in hiding earlier than being betrayed to the Nazis. (


It’s also 130 years because the demise of the Netherland’s most beloved painter, Vincent Van Gogh, in 1890 — go to his assortment on the Van Gogh Museum ( And take a ship journey — it could be touristy, nevertheless it’s a incredible strategy to see the town. As is hiring a bicycle — you’ll be able to at all times observe your biking within the huge peaceable Vondelpark earlier than becoming a member of the marginally intimidating stream of native cyclists that circulate by way of the town.

On a much more sombre notice, 2020 can be the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, close to Krakow in Poland. There are guided excursions of each the camp and the close by saltmines at Wieliczka; the eerie, horrific area the place tons of of 1000’s of individuals had been murdered is just not for the faint hearted, however important for contemplation of the worst of humanhistory. Attempt to go off season, and count on to really feel unsettled.

Afterwards, get well within the medieval splendour of Krakow, with its Gothic cathedral and well-known market place. Go to the Galicia Jewish museum ( within the bohemian outdated Jewish district of Kaizmierz, featured within the Steven Spielberg movie Schindler’s Checklist, and residential to a buzzy flea market each weekend.

Get pleasure from Polish vodka in a ‘lost bar’ — like a speakeasy — such because the Mercy Brown bar, a throwback to 1920s Krakow, whose doorway is hidden inside a restaurant at 28, Straszewskiego.


Wrap up heat and keep it up to Moscow’s Pink Sq. to the Tomb of Lenin, the place the embalmed physique of Vladimir Ilyich lies. He was born 150 years in the past this 12 months, and in contrast to communism, remains to be there on public show — 2020 can be the 30th anniversary of Mikhail Gorbachev turning into the final ever president of the Soviet Union.

Two giants of Russian tradition additionally get pleasure from beginning anniversaries this 12 months — Boris Pasternak, writer of Dr Zhivago, in 1890, and Tchaikovsky in 1840. Pasternak’s outdated home within the Moscow suburbs is now a museum, and the Tchaikovsky Live performance Corridor is surrounded by a feast of museums, galleries, theatres and parks. And vodka.


If Russia is simply too far and too chilly, there’s at all times Belgium — it’s received much more going for it than simply EU paperwork. Flemish painter of voluptuous girls, Paul Rubens, died in 1640, however his fairly fabulous home, which he designed, nonetheless stands in Antwerp — go to it at

Even deader is Flemish Previous Grasp Bruegel the Elder, well-known for his detailed 16th century peasant scenes — 2020 is both the 490th or 495th anniversary of his beginning (no one is aware of if he was born in 1525 or 1530). Though Dutch, he died in Brussels — two thirds of his 40 work had been impressed by the town. See them for your self at

Afterwards, have a Belgian beer and a cone of frites amid the huge opulence of Grand Place. And don’t overlook to go to Bruges an hour away, for no purpose aside from its gorgeousness, and its chocolate outlets.

In line with the theme of long-dead artists, the Italians are having a bumper 12 months. It’s 500 years because the demise of Leonardo and the beginning of Raphael, 545 years because the beginning of Michelangelo in 1475, and 410 years because the demise at 38 of Caravaggio.

Slow travels: Why not harness your inner Thunberg and travel overland by train this year

4 good causes to go to Tuscany, birthplace of all 4. Particularly Florence, much less intense than Rome, much less flooded than Venice, and a feast for Renaissance followers, from Michelangelo’s home, Casa Buonarroti ( to the city of Vinci, 40km away, the birthplace of Leonardo.

Besides he was most likely born in a farmhouse 3km from Vinci in Anchiano — it’s nonetheless there, and you’ll go to it. ( Again in Florence, go to the Uffizi gallery to see 17th-century works by Caravaggio, and see Michelangelo’s David on the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze, ( close to the Piazza Duomo.


Raphael can be on the Uffizi, despite the fact that he solely lived in Florence from 1504 to 1508. All fairly breathtaking. You’ll want espresso. And given the wealth of artwork historical past scattered round Florence, utilizing a information will deliver the town much more to life.

If, nevertheless, you are feeling that Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael work greatest as ninja turtles, Florence is residence to some nice up to date artwork — try Museo Novecento, (, and dozens extra areas at theflorentine.web. Or you might simply sit in any of the town’s magnificent squares, and have a gelato.

Pleased sluggish travels in 2020.

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