Exciting Rail & Boat Journeys

Exciting Rail & Boat Journeys

My love of train journeys began in 1981 when I travelled all the way from London to Moscow, by train crossing the channel by ferry and resuming the train ride in Belgium to reach Paris. We stopped in Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin (those days it was East & West Berlin separated by Checkpoint Charlie & Brandenberg Gate). At Checkpoint Charlie, the inscrutable Soviet border patrol barged into our coupee and thoroughly examined every item of luggage including the diapers of our year-old son. From Berlin, we went over to Warsaw where we stayed ten days and finally to Moscow via Minsk. We also made a separate train journey to St.Petersburg, known as Leningrad those days. Unfortunately, I have lost many photographs of this historic train journey..

The romance of the rail journey is unmatched. Whether you’re snaking up the winding Darjeeling hills in a toy train, cruising through the high-altitude Tibetan plateau in a swanky pressurised coach equipped with oxygen masks, chugging through snow-covered barren countryside in Norway, hurtling through Tuscan grottos or speeding past Mt.Fuji in a Japanese bullet train, a train journey serves up vignettes of landscape like no other mode of transport can. Rectangular frames of lush rice paddies, crowded and cluttered towns and cities, pristine wildernesses, farmsteads, stunning scenery, all whiz past as you recline in your cushioned seat and just stare.

Sailing, on the other hand, is a serene and calming experience – unless of course, the sea or river is choppy. Welcome aboard as we cruise along the Mekong through four countries, hop across the frozen Baltic to Finland, watch an election rally on the backwaters of Kerala, be mesmerized by the fjords of the Tasman Sea in Doubtful Sounds or ogle at the Rock in Gibralter from my Comarit ferry.

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