As we’ve been planning a wee train trip when we can again, and I don’t mean North Berwick to Edinburgh, I’ve been checking out my friends’ recommendations.
And I’m indebted here to my old friend Aileen, who is more Roaring Twenties than Boring Twenties, for her shout in Paris.
With Aileen flagging up Le Train Bleu Restaurant (formerly the Buffet de la Gare de Lyon) located in the Gare de Lyon railway station in Paris.
So I’ll pull up to the bumper, baby, and give you my fave trainy-related places I’ve been.
And all those Eastern European and Central Asian palaces will just have to wait.
The only way is up
An Alpine hand
The Jungfraujoch, Kleine Scheidegg, Switzerland: They had me sold when they said my ears would pop.
The journey from Kleine Scheidegg up to the Jungfraujoch is Adolf Guyer-Zeller’s major feat of engineering.
That’s 9km up to the top of Europe between the Bernese Highlands and the Valais.
And you’ll get an ice bar with Swiss whiskey, a Tiso watch shop, and a Bollywood restaurant to accommodate those sari-clad ladies on the peaks.
Golden, Colorado: And the Wild West was built on the railway.
The Colorado Railroad Museum gives you an insight into what life was like for those pioneers puffing through the plains.
With a guided tour. The only thing that’s missing is Butch and Sundance standing down on the banks.
Also check out the Art Deco frontage railway station in Mile High City, Denver where dreams of the Gold Rush were hatched.
A Wales of a time
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Anglesey, Wales: And far from being a party pooper here but this long Welsh name is a Victorian Age contrivance.
It used to stop before the ‘wyng’ bit but a tailor from the village added the rest to form the word.
Which means: ‘St Mary’s church in the hollow of white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysillo near the red cave.’
Alas, the bigger they are the harder they fall.
And the jobsworths have closed the station because the platform is too small because of social distancing.
And ten minutes later you’ll be on the water
Water way to travel
Padova to Venice, Italy: Now I grant you there are more romantic ways to first see the Grand Canal.
By water, of course.
But for most of us we’ll first approach the city on the lagoon by train and through that bottleneck at the station.
But the thrill when you enter Venice is worth it.
Just bear in mind the erratic Italian trains, and forget what Mussolini said.
And leave yourself enough time if you have a cocktail reception to get back to in Padova’s Botanic Gardens.
Particularly if you’re in your boardies, Dragon, and haven’t brought a change of clothes.
A familiar trip
Dublin to Greystones, Co.WicklowA: And as much as I gave out about the DART through Bray Head on my daily journeys to work…
No matter how I felt about going into work. this is a stunning stretch past Dublin Harbour.
It is not for nothing that it is compared with the Bay of Naples and used as a film substitute. And that Bono bought the view.
And, of course, it has the ultimate seal of approval in that Isambard Kingdim Brunel built the tumnel.