Back Door Productions at Work

I’m deep into an 18-day shoot with my television crew:  producer Simon Griffith and cameraman Peter Rummel. Rather than focusing on lovely sights, in this shoot we’re updating our three-part Travel Skills Special…while surrounded by lovely sights.

Our Crew, Just Before Bedtime
Most of an entire episode of our Travel Skills Special is devoted to train travel. In this shot, we’re settling in for the overnight train from Munich to Venice.


Alcohol-Testing Our Cameraman
Before shooting in Bavaria, we have our cameraman, Peter Rummel, submit to a breathalyzer. These machines are found at German beer gardens in the countryside (like Andechs), where most people arrive by car. They’re handy for locals who love their beer, but know that Germany’s drinking-and-driving laws are strong and strictly enforced.


ICE Woman and the Bullet Train
For three days, we filmed the how-tos of train travel using Germany as our classroom. It’s a challenge to spend lots of time, hard work, and money producing three half-hour episodes on travel skills that will still be up-to-date in six or eight years. While most of Europe is not yet quite as slick, Germany’s train system is what they aspire to: Futuristic ICE (Intercity-Express) trains cut like bullets through the green and tidy German countryside. And in this photo, “ICE woman” is a clear reminder that they run a very tight ship.


6 Replies to “Back Door Productions at Work”

  1. Rick..Thank you so much for all your time and effort to help novices travel with confidence!

  2. I always enjoy the quickness, the politeness, the relaxing trips I have had on the trains in Europe. I think the Dutch and the German trains are the nicest, however, I also think most of the trains are enjoyable, but the most modern seem to be the high speed, or the trains for the long distance traveling between Holland, Germany, Italy or Holland, Belgium, France. However, one of the most enjoyable ones to me was from Strasbourg to Lucerne, and Lucerne to Milan. (especially the Panoroma car.) Thanks for giving all of us who enjoy your shows and your experience in Traveling in Europe.

  3. A night train episode…..awesome!!!!!! The most relaxing, and comfortable way to travel across Europe! Discount airlines like Ryanair suck:(

  4. On other hand, Dirk, if time is off the essence, then flying, rather than taking a train, is a no-brainer. I took a flight from Rome to Catania, Sicily. It was, oh, about an hour and change; a train trip to that same destination, including a ferry crossing from mainland Italy to Sicily, would’ve been about 14-16 hours. Didn’t have the luxury of time so I opted for a Ryanair flight (which was ALSO cheaper than the train). Glad I did.

  5. I love the train while we are traveling around from a city to a city. But from country to country I think air travel is the best. We have never used Ryan Air, but the other European airlines have been great on time and efficient.

  6. Am definitely looking forward to these episodes!

    I’m a big train fan, but I actually prefer the slower trains – you can’t see the scenery as well from the fast ones.

    You have to consider more than just flying time when comparing planes and trains. You have to get to and from the airports, while stations are usually in the middle of town. You have to get to the airport hours early, instead of ten minutes, and then you have to go through the security theater (admittedly not as bad outside the US). I once calculated the actual travel time for a two hour flight from London (Luton) to Nice, and it took eight hours! I do agree that flying to Sicily makes sense – I did the train trip from Naples and was glad to fly back – but you have decide each trip on its own merits.

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