Aix is a favorite with us, even though we've spent only limited time there...but long enough to have posted a Picture of the Day featuring the local market , not far from the scene of your picture...it's really a great walking town.
My brother says that he would love to travel to countries like this. He says it would be really cool to travel on a train like this. I think I'm more of a Europe guy, but it would be a really cool experience to go on a train like that.
It isn't cool to travel on a train where you get thrown around in the carriage because the tracks are warped with age John ! Many journeys take 24 hours of hanging on like a Roller Coaster ! That's just in Asia. You'll be fine in Europe.
Fascinating read! If I do take this train trip, and it's currently included in the plan, for our hoped for trip to Mynamar later this year, I can't say I wasn't warned. Coming from a country that shakes, rattles, and rolls pretty much every day there were two things about the earthquake that worried me. First, it was big enough to produce screams!! Second, it seems that no-one bothered to check the tracks before the train left the station. And so as I was reading I expected a derailment -...
Jill, one thing I didn't think to say when I wrote this report is, consider buying 2nd class seats. I could see into the next car, as it swayed in the opposite direction from ours, and it was fitted with wooden benches, presumably bolted down and consequently a less harrowing ride. It may be more crowded but also more interesting.
What an amazing trip! A real reminder of when few traveled and it was not a packaged experience. I wish I had the guts to do a trip like this. Thank you for sharing it! Do you think with Burma more open these days things will change much, or will people like me show up in the cities and still not go where you went?
Thanks FlashFlyer. The thing about adventures like this is you have no idea what an adventure it'll be until it happens and you can't get out of it even if you want to. So, no guts required. Yes, Burma will certainly change, has already. Currently not enough infrastructure for those wanting to visit but if you've traveled in Asia you know the entrepreneurial spirit is alive & well and it won't be long, I suspect, before it will come to resemble other parts of the region. So, good news as...
I hope that wasn't your last venture into third world high speed travel. Reminds me of Austria on the Zillertal Bahn Valley Railway. The Train went so slow that passengers would lean out and pick wild flowers from the trackside. Each carriage had warning notices - in English - not to do this. But ....
If I live it won't be my last. Just prior to that one, same trip, I'd gone from Guilin to Nanning, then after lunch got on another, overnight to Hanoi. Later overnight again, Hanoi to Hoi An. Now that I think about it I realize they got progressively worse as I went along, culminating in The Worst. I hadn't thought about it until just this minute, hindsight is a wonderful thing that way. A great disappointment to me several years ago was the apparently permanent cancellation of the Hanoi to...
I suspect, although without evidence, that since the trains are very close to the previous size, that someone looked, saw a fairly familiar measurement and said, say “2.6 meters…that’s not so different from 2.5…OK!” Puts me in mind of the rocket that missed Mars because one team was measuring in metric units and the other in English… http://www.cnn.com/TECH/space/9909/30/mars.metric.02/
I suspect "stabling" refers to the train being at the station -- like horse returning home. But I love the sense of mystery and imaging you did to, PM! Nothing quite as much fun as a terrible translation!
I wouldn't dream of occupying while stabling in the train rest room, but in the waiting room? I thought that's what they were for. A wise man, or FaMale, should know better than to leave a nice comfortable clean place and get on a train in some parts of the world. It was a lesson it took me several trains to learn on that trip.
What an interesting place. Looking at the city on Google maps it certainly has that institutional utility look of a government facility. If not knowing it was the Mendocino State Hospital I would have thought it was an old military base. Thanks for sharing.
Agree with you, Rob! Thank you, PM, for letting us sit in the back seat of your road trip! Can't wait to see where we drive to next. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? (I was an annoying kid)
You might find yourself the only pale-skinned person in one of the trains to remote towns in Sri Lanka or India. Trains between Colombo and Kandy will be well-touristed. But trains running into the hills much less so so far as Sri Lanka goes. While you would blend in with the locals, I would imagine the same is true of the UK. Train travel between smaller towns, especially in the north, would have few tourists.
I've only been on one of those they list, but as we so often do, I disagree with some of their choices. For instance in India, some of the best rides are the mountain trains to Hill Stations, like the famous toy trains to Shimla and to Darjeeling, both of which I've ridden, the Shimla route twice. I'd also include Delhi to Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, rather than to Mumbai. Ah well, in any case, so many trains, so little time.
Great report, Jonathan! I guess I live a sheltered life in the west, because I'd never even heard of this train route before. It intrigues me. Something to include on a snowbird journey to Florida someday.
Great question...and possibly not an easy clear answer. Cuba's trains have generally been in poor shape in recent years as older equipment has run down and spares not available. However, according to Mark Smith (The Man in Seat 61), that's changing with the arrival of a fleet of new Chinese-built locomotives. On his site ( Seat61.com ) he has an extensive update of recent changes in schedules, routes and locations (that's important because Havana's main station is closed for a 3-year...
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