travel

take me away № 11 | travel by train

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Imagine the anticipation of stepping on board a grand and majestic train, all aglow, as the brisk winter’s evening has just fallen.

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Inside, passengers settle in for the evening, enjoying perfect touches of comfort and luxury, echoing that of a romantic, bygone era.

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And as steam trails behind and the new journey commences, the heart flutters momentarily and one is not sure what to expect, but one thing is for certain, guests are abound to endless wondrous destinations, with discoveries and sights to take in at nearly every moment along the way.

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Today we explore a wonderful selection of world-renowned trains and journeys, from all different points of the world.

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And so, we invite to you warm a delicious cup of drinking chocolate, and please join us on an incredible railway adventure . . .

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01 | Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Train

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One of six trains in the Orient Express collection, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Train“‘The train against which all other luxury trains are measured”, according to Vanity Fair. And indeed it is. With an exquisitely appointed exterior detailed in gold embellishments, a sparkling navy body and a snowy white roof, this train is the epitome of elegance. Offering respectfully restored 1920’s vintage cars, they are all coal-heated, with windows open to the fresh air.

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While staying aboard you will find nothing short of the finest in five-star accommodations and service. Sleeping roughly 100 persons at one time, the sleeping compartments offer Pullman-style beds, a lovely sink and closing vanities with well-considered amenities. The only foreseeable downfall to this otherwise perfect experience is that there are no showers on board; however this factor is all apart of experiencing a traditional train tour, and often not such a concern for those aboard.

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The main lounging cars have been decorated in the Art Nouveau style and finished with fresh flower arrangements. And befitting of this glamorous experience, when arriving for dining – whether for cocktails in the evening, or a full meal – suits [or tuxedos] and gowns are often the typical attire. There are three dining carts in total to visit: one finished primarily with marquetry; the second, with Chinese lacquered walls and bright animals; and the third with Lalique crystal insets.

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And in addition to the attention to detail and to each person’s experience on board, guests are welcomed to eat at one of three staggered times, in order to serve and enjoy their meal with ease. But to top off the tour, a gifted pianist can often be found entertaining in the evenings for the perfect ending to the day.

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Fanciful stories and movies have been made with the presence of this incredible train, and it is quite easy to see why—a tour on The Venice Simplon is certainly an experience of a lifetime . . .

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{ a glimpse of the journey : }

After crossing the Channel, board the cream and umber carriages of the British Pullman for the journey to London. A traditional afternoon tea accompanied by a glass of champagne is served to you at your table as you watch the gentle scenery of Kent pass by before arriving at your destination, London Victoria.

Destinations | Europe, including: London, Venice, Paris, Budapest, Bucharest, and more.

[discover more about these journeys & short videos here]

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02 | Royal Canadian Pacific Train

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An elegant train deeply rooted in history, with many cars built between the years of 1917 and 1931, when it comes to luxurious rail tours, the Royal Canadian Pacific certainly offers one of the finest experiences in the world. The tour is entirely about leaving the world behind, relaxing and enjoying the once-in-lifetime experience, all in the way traveling by rail was meant to be.

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Knowing such, it is no surprise that there have been many esteemed inhabitants over the years, including: Winston Churchill, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh (later Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip), as well as John and Jacqueline Kennedy.

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With just 32 people to board at one time, this five-star train affords supreme luxury, where one will discover open-platform observation areas as well as several salons, and large compartments with private ensuite powder rooms, complete with showers, toilets, and wash basins. Guests are also invited to enjoy musical events and exquisite meals prepared in the utmost of quality.

The majority of sleeping accommodations boast Pullman cars that “offer two twin beds, a desk, a roomy private shower, sink, toilet and large picture window, as well as plush white towels and lovely toiletries. Finished in Circassian walnut imported from Russia with Bird’s Eye maple inlay, and adorned with luxurious details such as Turkish drapes, many storage options and beautiful vaulted ceilings, each car is draped in grandeur, creating an experience not to be missed . . .

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{ a glimpse of the journey :}

Royal Canadian Pacific has partnered with some of Canada’s most elite tourism experiences at various destinations throughout our excursions. These off-train activities include golf at some of the world’s most renowned championship courses, fly-fishing on Canada’s pristine rivers and lakes, and interpretive tours that share Canada’s unique heritage.

Destinations | Canada, including : Banff, Vancouver and more.

[discover more about these journeys]

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03 | Rovos Rail

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With the Ravos Rail, one may enjoy a unique and incredible experience, partaking on a safari through the very heart of Africa. Indeed, some of the most magnificent views and exciting discoveries have been made through the golden age of rail travel — how can one not wish to also take part?

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This world-class train was established in 1989, and since, has built a strong reputation — one of uncompromising service and luxury. The wood-paneled coaches welcome visitors to make themselves at home, to relax and enjoy the adventure before them; and, interestingly enough, the trains may be hailed by steam, diesel or electric locomotives at various points of the journey, and carry a total of 72 passengers.

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The beautiful wood paneling and Edwardian features are rather impressive, as is the comfort of the air-conditioned suites, offering twin or spacious double beds. And however traditional of an experience this may seem, modern technology has been integrated, with hot showers, hair dryers and electrical outlets for shavers. As for the suites, there is a range available, some with their own private lounge and full bath, and others with Victorian bathtubs.

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There are also observation carts, and as with all the service cars, the lounges are air-conditioned, yet the windows can be opened to take in the sights, sounds and scents of Africa. There are very few, if any, for that matter, luxury trains with this special feature, which has been most spectacular when chartered for a Steam Safari.

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Beyond the lounging areas, one may enjoy delicious foods created by an enthusiastic team of chefs; there is an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients and traditional dishes — truly, a journey of distinction.

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{ a glimpse of the journey : }

In a series of train journeys lasting from 24 hours to a fortnight, the Pride of Africa links some of Africa’s greatest destinations from Cape Town, at the tip of Africa, to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, from scenic splendors as diverse as the game reserves of Mpumalanga to the Victoria Falls, from the desert landscapes in Namibia and the stark beauty of the Karoo to the lush cane fields of KwaZulu-Natal and the magnificent Garden Route along the Cape south coast.

Destinations | Africa, including: Cape Town, Pretoria, Vic Falls, and more.

[discover more about the journeys]

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Which would you like to take a journey on?

~ S
arah

 

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Sarah Klassen
Contributor, Vancouver

Even as a girl, Sarah spent hours curled up in her home library, exploring enchanting tales, lands to be discovered and explored, intriguing stories, and timeless beauty. What resulted is a lifelong passion for love and authenticity, delightful simplicity and beautiful moments. Educated in design, marketing and English, Sarah’s keen eye and aesthetic allow her to immerse beauty and heartfelt passion into both her personal and professional projects.
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