Night Train Interview in Der Spiegel

The news magazine Der Spiegel and its website, running under the name Spiegel Online until the end of 2019, are among the most influential media in Germany. Basically everyone in the German speaking world comes across their stuff in one way or another, not least because they were the first to publish on the Internet.

Maybe you can imagine now how excited I was when editor Eva Lehnen reached out to me. She asked me for an interview about night trains, which would become a full-scale feature in Der Spiegel’s travel section.

I’d worked with media before, but this was something else. It kept me busy for a couple of days. Not only were there the very long and intense conversations on the phone. Everything I said also went to the famous fact-checking department of Der Spiegel. And then I had the honor of contributing some of my photos, the selection of which I took very seriously.

The interview was published early in the morning. I found out about it literally in bed, as I was doing my regular browse through the news apps.

Sleeper compartment in a night train in Slovakia
Some of my photos made it to the article, too, like this one of a sleeper compartment in a Slovak night train

The rest of the day I could follow what happens when one of the biggest media sites on the web links to your little blog. The number of visitors shot up from the usual few hundred a day to over 6000. Also I received a lot more personal messages than I usually do. But frankly, it was not overwhelming and also my web server kept up quite well.

What certainly helped was watching the whole thing from a safe distance in Sweden. This way I could easily pretend it never happened and just go on with my everyday life.

Looking back, this interview clearly contributed to me becoming a noticed train person. I’m grateful to Der Spiegel for the opportunity and am very pleased with the result. A special shout-out goes to Eva Lehnen for her honest interest in the topic and the enjoyable collaboration.

Two years later, I would again work with Der Spiegel for a map of night train lines. You can read more about it here.


Eva Lehnen: “Nachts durch Europa – für mich ist das Reiseromantik pur”. Published in Der Spiegel on October 17, 2019.