Couple travelled through Europe to Brazil without taking a single flight

An adventurous married couple from the UK have revealed how they travelled through Europe to reach Rio de Janeiro in Brazil without taking a single flight.

Rick Turner and Adam Longbottom embarked upon their three-month long trip of a lifetime in Autumn last year with a vow to take as few flights as possible amid airport chaos in the UK where many passengers were experiencing cancellations and delays as airlines stuggled to cope with a surge in demand post-pandemic.

Worried they might lose their luggage on one of their many stops, the pair decided instead to take different modes of transport to their destinations as they made their way through 11 countries including France, Switzerland and Italy.

After reaching Barcelona in the Catalan region of Spain, the pair picked up a cruise ship which took them to Brazil on a 10-day voyage – although they encountered a spanner to their grand plans when they both came down with Covid and were isolated in a separate cabin.

However, the pair tested negative in time to reach Rio de Janeiro, where they spent time before taking their first flight of the trip, to make their journey back home in October.

Rick Turner and his husband Adam Longbottom (pictured) set off for their trip of a lifetime in Autumn last year, where they travelled throughout Europe before heading to Brazil without taking a single flight

Speaking to CNN Travel, the couple revealed how, when they set out on their trip, they didn’t have much of a plan other than to reach Italy at some point.

And while on their journey, the couple missed out on some of the biggest events ever in their home country, including Queen Elizabeth II’s death (which they heard about while watching the news in their Novotel) and Liz Truss’s record-breaking stint as the shortest-serving prime minister ever.

Rick told that, after boarding the Eurostar train in the UK, they decided their first stop would be Lille in France. From there, they checked their rail app to decide where their next stop would be – a pattern they followed throughout their journey. 

While on their trip of a lifetime, the couple, who both work remotely, continued working despite travelling across the continent – and made sure they stopped for a good amount of time at each destination so they could settle somewhere that would allow them to log on.

After Lille, the couple initially planned to travel to Marseille but had a last-minute change of heart and decided to head to Luxembourg instead – which Rick described as ‘lovely’.

Among the stops on the couple's list was Basel (pictured) in Switzerland, which left them somewhat underwhelmed

Among the stops on the couple’s list was Basel (pictured) in Switzerland, which left them somewhat underwhelmed

Rick and Adam took a trip to the tiny country of San Marino during their tour of Italy, which upped their country total

Rick and Adam took a trip to the tiny country of San Marino during their tour of Italy, which upped their country total 

The couple visited Lake Garda in Italy where they took a speedboat and toured around, and it was this point in the trip that they decided to travel to South America

One of the earliest stops on Rick and Adam's trip was to Luxembourg, which was a last-minute change of plan for the couple

One of the earliest stops on Rick and Adam’s trip was to Luxembourg, which was a last-minute change of plan for the couple

From there, they travelled to Strasbourg, but revealed they made a quick exit from the [CITY] after it was hit by a 4.1 magnitude earthquake. Then they travelled to Basel in Switzerland, although Rick admitted they were underwhelmed by the town.

However, after setting off to explore more of Switzerland, Rick said he was thrilled by the scenery which included ‘Huge lakes, beautiful valleys, mountains, lots of green’.

After Switzerland, the couple headed to Milan in Italy, where they were hit by the Fashion Week tax making hotels more expensive than usual – and decided to head east to Lake Garda instead. 

There, they hired a speedboat and zoomed around Desenzano and Garda Island, which was one of the highlights of their trip.

After Lake Garda, the pair visited Venice, a favourite city of theirs, and managed a whistlestop tour of San Marino to bump up the number of countries visited.

While touring Italy, the couple began planning the final leg of their tour and ended up booking a cruise from their last European destination, Barcelona.

At first, Rick and Adam had planned to take a ship from Europe to the US, with Miami in mind as their destination. However, after doing some research they found a 13-night tour from the Catalan city to Brazil which worked out at £1,800 for both of them.

The beginning of the tour began with a stop off in Madeira, where they took a cable car up the mountain, before heading across the Atlantic Ocean.

However, a few days into the trip, the pair began to feel unwell, and soon they tested positive for Covid.

They were moved to a ‘covid cabin’ which had a balcony, but was sealed off from the rest of the ship with a watertight door to prevent the spread of infection. During their days in isolation they were brought a menu every day to choose their food, but were light on entertainment with no internet.

Their days of isolating meant they missed the first two stops in Brazil, Salvador and Ilhèus, but thankfully the pair were testing negative by the time they reached Rio de Janeiro.

After arriving in South America, the couple finally began taking flights – first travelling from Rio to Argentina, before heading to Chile and then Peru.

They were just planning to skip over to Mexico when they stumbled across Air France flights to Paris, a city they both love, and decided it was time to head back home.

After their mammoth trip taken largely by train, Rick and Adam agree they would absolutely undertake a similar trip in future, but they have a few tips for travellers who might want to follow in their footsteps.

Firstly, they recommend travelling with backpacks rather than suitcases, for ease of moving around a lot and storing things in luggage racks.

They also warned that, as they were often staying in hotels near train stations, the areas were often a little rougher. So Rick recommended finding accommodation a little further into town and bearing the 30 minute walk with your backpack to reach a safer destination.

Reflecting on his trip, Rick said: ‘None of the stress of flying, and so much easier to get to the station. You know what time you’re leaving, you don’t have to go loads earlier, and the trains run mostly on time.’