Young European Travelers

42 Hour Train Syndrome by Alex Lyons


Me and 4 of my friends decided this summer to travel across Europe.  We all wanted to go to different places for different reasons. Some wanted to experience nightlife, some wanted to experience food and culture, some wanted to relax in the sun.  I just wanted to photograph every single inch of the trip.

I decided on using analog cameras for the unpredictability when I would finally return home with a sack full of film to my local lab. So I kitted myself with 75 rolls of out of date Provia. One medium format camera, an underwater camera and a 35mm camera.

We headed to Paris first, after a bottle of rum some ended up in the River Seine. We then met a strangling friend and smuggled him in the luggage holder to Barcelona where we sat on the beach and took in the sun. We then headed to the old Spanish town of Sevilla.  It was ridiculously hot so we rented a pedalo (paddle boat) and swam in the river and in favorite fountains throughout the city. The whole time I recorded photographs with my camera.  It so happens Provia works perfectly with water. We then went to the tip of Spain where you can see Morocco across the water and swam in the sea at sunset.


We then went on a long painful sleepy train ride all the way to Zurich, which took 42 hours. Here, we fell into a crazy football culture which packed the streets for Euro 2008.  It was colder and very different to our surroundings in the baking hot south of Spain. I went around asking football fans for their photographs in their impressive costumes. Next we headed over to Prague which was surprisingly hotter.  We found an old camera shop where I brought a cheap old original LC-A camera, which I began to use and became my new toy of the trip!

Next we headed back over to Berlin, which I hadn’t expected to be as interesting as it was. We saw the World Sandcastle Championships by the river and I ran around taking floor shots with LC-A. Then we discovered Tachles, an artists squat with a beach outside with old Volkswagen’s camper vans opened as bar and big tractor tires to sit in while artists paint and work with metal all around you. The nightlife was great with bars dedicated to punk music and great kebab shops.

Next we headed over to Amsterdam and met some friends before embarking on another mammoth train journey down to Milan.  I found this city very clean and expensive.  It had some lovely architecture but didn’t have some of the dirty interesting old crumbling buildings I found in other places. We all wanted a break by the sea after being in main land so we headed to a beach town called Marina De Massa, there was a lovely pier with old men fishing.  We all jumped off into the sea there. I Jumped with my underwater camera and broke the case, but got a few good films out of it. Next we headed to Pisa where we all got extremely sun burnt from being on the beach and stupidly forgetting sun cream. We had to hide in the shade of the leaning tower which seemed to be the only thing we knew about Pisa.  We weren’t going to risk walking any longer in the sun.


Next we headed to Napoli, quite a dangerous place.  During the first bus ride we took from the station we almost got pick pocketed. Napoli is very dirty with a lot of rubbish, tramps, and statues with missing arms and graffiti on their faces. We met some amazing people here.  Most of them lived on the street with the most amazing life story’s of traveling, running away, visiting prison and living on the streets. We then headed up to Rome which was an amazing city.  We only stayed one night but played hacky sack outside the Colosseum!

Lastly, we headed up to Belgium with the intent to go home from there. We met some friends in Brussels and attended a music festival an hour later!

When I returned home I took a big bag of film in, to be developed.  When the photos were ready a month later we gathered around a table looking back on all the amazing memories of our trip!