My father would often say to me, "Son, you cannot truly become a man until you've been woken rudely in the middle of the night by an angry Frenchman screaming into your face that you're in his seat while aboard a regional European train service." While these were almost certainly just nonsensical ramblings induced by the heady cocktail of children's vitamins and vast quantities of Peperamis that constituted his diet for the last 7 years of his life, chances are, if you go Interrailing it is something you will experience.
A German MEP, Manfred Weber, has long been campaigning that all Europeans should be provided with a free Interrailing pass on their 18th birthday as a means of developing European solidarity. His idea has gained traction throughout the last couple of years and the EU have announced that they are launching a pilot programme, called #DiscoverEU, which is to provide 15,000 free Interrail tickets.
Applications for the tickets open in June with anyone who will be 18 on July 1 and you must be a resident of the European Union, as is described in this painfully choreographed video - the production remit of which invariably read, "Diverse mix of European youths having fun, N.B. Backpacks and trains MUST be involved." The video can be seen below.
— European Parliament (@Europarl_EN) May 5, 2018
It is expected that the pilot scheme will cost around €12 million and that, assuming it's successful and there is a strong uptake, that it will be further expanded and will have an allocation of some €700 million by 2021. This is a genuinely fantastic initiative that everyone should try and avail of.
H/T: The Irish Times