We are delighted to introduce a female author to our list of Recommended Railway Reads. Over three months, freelance journalist Lorraine Wilson, travelled solo through Europe by train, stopping at 57 destinations in 21 countries and covering 11,500 miles. The result was her delightful book, "Facing Forwards: Europe. Solo. No Looking Back". This railway and life-changing odyssey followed in the footsteps of a financial meltdown, heartbreak, bereavement, and poor health over the previous five years. At the age of 48, single, childless and having sold her home Lorraine was struggling to decide where her life was heading. In the end the best thing to do, she thought, was to head off into the unknown! Facing Forwards is the result - not a conventional travel book, but a journey of self-discovery over one summer with lots of memorable encounters along the way. Below is an excerpt from the book which finds Lorraine in Slovakia and, like most of her journey, chronicles her experiences off the rail tracks as well as on them.