Steam Train Magic in
By John Clayton
an "Iron Horse" be a movie star? Several years ago I,
along with about 80 other travel journalists, was in Switzerland
celebrating the 75th Anniversary of a fantastic train called the
Glacier Express. Part of our "Swiss Rail Experience"
was visiting a unique steam engine called "The Gletschorn."
We'd taken a bus from the Glacier Express (which we re-boarded
the following day) to find this little engine, and as we got off
our busses we saw why Swiss Tourism wanted us to see this particular
steam engine. Waiting on the roundhouse turntable, and occasionally
shooting off little bursts of steam, here was this tantalizing,
unique little engine. I felt as if Thomas the Tank Engine of literary
fame, had come to life before my eyes. The fairytale setting added
to the magic of the moment - all around us were green clad, snow
peaked mountains that, here and there, showcased bubbling brooks
and rushing rivers that gurgled their musical sounds into our
hearts and souls. Then too, the crisp mountain air ---- it was
so fresh, so invigorating, it made me feel as if I'd enjoyed a
marvelous spa treatment. As any steam engine aficionado will tell
you, finding a top quality, working steam engine today, is like
finding a gold nugget in your backyard. With cameras and videos
in hot pursuit, we crowded round the Gletschorn as if she were
some famous movie star --- including lots of ooohs and aaahs of
excitement. Built with "loving Swiss care" in 1913,
she worked in her country of birth until 1947, when she was sold
to (of all places!) Vietnam. Because "lines of communication"
of the North Vietnamese had to be destroyed by the US military
in that war, this plucky little engine was also part of that conflict
--- and yes, she was bombed and blitzed, but --- thank goodness
--- she survived. Maybe sensing the railroad history of the Gletschorn,
in 1990 she returned to Rhone Glacier area of Switzerland, and
was put into "a happy and safe retirement."
Our railroad reverie topped out with a ride in 3 classic coaches,
as we began a mesmerizing 10 mile journey that transported us
into a wonderland of steam, magical scenery, beautiful bridges,
and a train ride every one aboard, will remember forever. Called
"The Furka Steam Train Adventure," it's at www.furka-bergstrecke.ch.
More Swiss information is at www.myswitzerland.com. If you never
take another train ride in Europe, I urge you to enjoy this amazing
Swiss rail trip, as being the best of the best in steam train
magic. (this is another in the series of "John Clayton's
Travel With A Difference" stories on www.TravelingBoy.com.
Contact John by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell John what you think about his article.
* * * * * * * *
As a history and Churchill buff, I found your article to be chilling.
I hope someday to make it to the museum. Is the CWR at all part of the
Imperial War Museum? I don't know how I missed it in my only trip to
London back in 2000.
Yes it is. If you go online and
click on the IWM website, you'll find out even more information about
this intriguing museum. Thanks for your times and words.
Very excited to see your appearance in the Boitano Blog. I don't know
who the hell all those Boitanos are, but I know who John Clayton is!
Hey, I wrote a note on your column on the Cabinet War Rooms. I'll be
a regular reader. I certainly hope all are well and happy on the Peninsula
and that all your travels are still terrific.
I urge anyone traveling to London to put the Cabinet War Rooms high
on their "must see" list. All who've taken my advice have
thanked me, just like I thanked you, and do so again, for recommending
the museum to me years ago. But then, it's just one of many suggestions
of yours, every one brilliant!
Ed, Port St. Lucie, FL
Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism
recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin.
A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir
Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright
Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model
Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum
in Vevey, Switzerland
Treasures of Ireland: The Burren (Dispatch
The Palladian Traveler ventures back to the days
of fearless Celtic warriors to search for some "stones to take you
home" as he files his latest dispatch from the monochromatic moonscape
known as The Burren.
Is it more momentous for a Brit to do the Buckingham
Palace tour than say an American or indeed any other nationality? Yes, I
know that's an odd question, but if you grow up as I did in
London back in the 1950s, getting inside Buckingham Palace was the stuff
of dreams. Hence my surprise at touring BP in 2005.
Buckingham Palace It's THE Most Popular Tour
in Great Britain (Part 2 of a 2-Part Series)
The first thing you notice is the fragrance. The intoxicating
perfume of the tiare flower announces to your senses that you are in a magical
place, overflowing with tropical vegetation and soothing trade winds. It
is the same fragrance that the English seamen on the HMS Bounty also first
encountered; but they came, not for flowers, but for breadfruit, intended
as a new food staple for their slaves in the West Indies.
Paradise on Earth: The Romance of
Tahiti and Her Islands
"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" goes
the song. Robert Goulet sang it and Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis,
too, and it surely comes to mind when you stand on a bluff in the Luberon
of Provence and stare across at the little hill village of Gordes. The view
is the best part; the village's interior itself is not dramatic and stands
as a warning of what contemporary popularity can do to the simple homes
of 12th century working people.
Provence: As Much a Mood, a Spirit as a Destination
Walking home to our apartment in Venice, we share a
wave through the window with the owner of Baba, our local osteria. Leaving
for a day of sightseeing, a cup of my favorite pistachio gelato awaits me
despite the early hour. At the Bar Dugole, we relax after a day of sightseeing
and order the regular: vodka for my husband and Amaretto for me.
Exploring Venice: Lost and Found. And Special Finds.
Traveling with Beautiful Boots and a Bison Backpack
People often asked about my favorite travel apparel and
gear. This happened to me at the airport recently. One question came as
I was putting back on my clothes after going through the TSA checkpoint
striptease. Before leaving the area, I heard a soft voice say, "hey,
I really like your boots. Where did you get them?" Looking up, I
found a uniformed employee staring at my feet.
Film Review: "My Hero Brother" A Tribute
to the Human Spirit
I just spent five days attending the Santa Barbara Film
Festival and for the most part, the features, animated shorts, and documentaries
were quite professional and compelling. That said, "My Hero Brother,"
a documentary that was particularly outstanding, told the remarkable and
inspiring story about a group of Down syndrome young men and women who
go on a two-week trek through the Himalayas with their non-Down syndrome
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