Great Train Journeys
Despite all the modern day advances in methods of travel, sometimes the old ways are just simply the best. For anyone who enjoys a slightly slower pace of life, or who wants their experience to begin the minute they start a journey, great train journeys are a far better option than starting out a trip on a cramped flight or behind the wheel of a car.
London to Bruges
Thanks to the efficient nature of the Eurostar (http://www.eurostar.com), it’s now possible to take a train from London to Bruges in just under 4 hours. The scenic journey takes in the English county of Kent, some of the northern coast of France and the West of Belgium before a quick changeover at Brussels onto a smaller train for the journey on to Bruges. The comfort of the Eurostar and the Belgian trains makes this a great train journey with minimum hassle and maximum relax factor, from the moment you step on in London, to the minute you arrive in Bruges. At the end of the trip, there is a whole host of local delights to enjoy, such as chocolate and beer tasting and some great local restaurants and historical sites – after such an easy journey you’ll be ready to get stuck in straight away.
Mumbai to Delhi on the Palace on Wheels
If there’s one thing the British did well in India, it was the construction of the Indian train network, which still functions today, in many places with much more efficiency and timeliness than much of the UK rail network! The train journey from Mumbai to Delhi is best done on the Indian Maharaja Deccan Odyssey (http://www.theindianmaharaja.co.in), a thoroughly luxurious way to see the country, travelling in a style similar to the way the Rajput kings once did. The onboard facilities are nothing like the standard Indian sleeper trains, which often have no air conditioning and certainly don’t have luxuriously decked out bars, several restaurants and double beds. Scenic places of interest along the way include the breathtaking Thar Desert and there are a number of possible stops, such as the Ellora Caves and the Taj Mahal at Agra.
New York to Los Angeles
It’s true that American train services do have something of a bad rep for being slow and overcrowded, but this is mainly the opinion of those who have somewhere to be fast and don’t have time to sit back and enjoy the ride. Booking a journey like New York to Los Angeles (http://www.amtrak.com) gives you the chance to really get to know great swathes of America that you’d never even see from the inside of a plane. Destinations along this route include New Orleans, Tucson, El Paso, Washington DC, Baltimore, Houston and Tuscaloosa – to name just a few – and the scenery varies from the wooded scenes of Pennsylvania, through to the wide deserts of Arizona.
London to Venice on the Orient Express
Of course a list of great train journeys just would not be complete without mentioning The Orient Express (http://www.orient-express.com), probably the world’s most iconic train. There are a number of routes available to those looking to take a trip across Europe on the Express, including London to Paris and London to Venice. The luxurious train takes passengers across fabulous European countryside to the French capital of style or the Italian floating city, with the return journey made by air (although return passage on the train can also be booked). Expect your experience to include afternoon tea, copious amounts of champagne, four course meals and luxurious sleeping quarters.
These great train journeys are a unique way to discover the countries through which they travel, as well as providing an excellent alternative for those adventurers who are bored with taking planes and staying in hotels. Signing up for a train trip across India, or the overwhelming open spaces of America, is likely to be an experience you will never forget.
John is a travel writer from Deal Zippy – a travel deals search engine who list some of the biggest and best discounts on trips and hotel stays from over 30 UK deal websites and travel agents.