It’s time to get your summer back on track
You hear it coming before you see it.
The whooshing sound of metal on track rattles through you as the first carriage glides into view. You bend down to pick up your rucksack, bracing yourself, before hoisting it up on to your shoulder – surely it’ll get easier?
As you step up onto the train in Oslo, for a moment the beautiful, sing-songy lilt of the Norwegian voices around you distracts you from the fact that you have no idea what anyone is saying.
You sink into a window seat, pull your tablet out of your rucksack and open up day one of Norwegian for Beginners 1. The Norwegian countryside flashes past as you practice aloud: Ja. Yes. Nei. No. Vær så snill. Please. Takk. Thank you.
Hours later, as you reach the coast, you’re ready for Norwegian for Beginners 2. By the time you get off the train, ready to take in the awe-inspiring beauty of the UNESCO listed Geirangerfjord, you’re able to ask a train station attendant the time of the last train.
8pm – perfect. To the seven sisters waterfall you go!
Take a virtual tour of an ancient city
Next up on your European rail adventure: Roma.
Home to 900 churches and 280 fountains, Rome is a city best explored on foot. You hop off the train, acclimatise to new foreign sounds and watch as the sun moves higher in the sky, beating down hard on the road ahead.
FutureLearn’s course Rome: A Virtual Tour of the Ancient City, offer you a free virtual walking tour around ancient Rome, guided by ancient history expert, Dr Matthew Nicholls.
You worm your way through the busy streets using his detailed and award-winning 3D digital model of the city, moving seamlessly between Rome today and the digital model of the Rome of yesteryear.
You find out Rome was the first modern city to hit a population of one million people: how was drinking water supplied to the city’s million inhabitants? How and where did they worship? Your questions and much more are answered articulately by your expert guide.
Exhausted by the eternal city, you fall asleep immediately after arriving back on the train. Your brief encounter with history fills your dreams.
Discover the intricacies of European identity
Your journey through Europe has so far stirred up many thoughts and questions about this fascinating continent, none more pressing than what it really means to be European.
What is European identity and what is true European culture?
FutureLearn’s free course from the European University Insitute, Cultures and Identities in Europe, will help you uncover what makes Europeans European, and explores European policies on culture, creativity, the media and more.
Your train comes to a screeching halt and reminds you you’ve got even more to learn.
With your new-found understanding of Europe and its people, you feel prepared and excited to reach your final European destination, the city famous for canals, coffee shops, and Heineken, Amsterdam.
Get to grips with the Dutch language
As a city built on clay, Amsterdam stands on 11 million wooden poles to prevent its buildings from sinking.
With that disconcerting fact realised, you step off dry land onto a canal boat, ready to take in up to 60 miles of canal ways.
As you sip some of Heineken’s almost 5.2 billion gallons of beer churned out every year, you open up Introduction to Dutch and get stuck in.
You raise a glass to the city with the most museums per capita in the world. There’s nothing quite like experiencing life in a country by learning the language, you think to yourself.