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: email@example.com
Tell John what you think about his article.
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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: Piped Inside Ashford Castle
The Palladian Traveler enters into a world of regal
elegance wrapped in Irish charm as he files his latest dispatch from inside
one of the Emerald Isle's most storied fortresses.
As we dropped down to 25,000 feet I saw one of the
most extraordinary panoramas I'd ever been lucky enough to witness. The
majesty of it all and the stunning vistas that lay below and before me were
spectacular. It was as beautiful as spring's first rose, and it made me
understand why so many pilots on commercial jetliners love their job; they
get to see so many awe-inspiring sights from the cockpit. My view was that
of a vast vista of the Pacific.
Chuuk + Wrecks = Scuba Divers' Paradise
In the 1840s, the population of California was only
14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived
from all over the world and they came for one reason: gold. James
Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutters Mill in El
Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles,
the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their
childrens eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very
much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from
last years Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little
ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already
fed and are rubbing their stomachs.
Lake Charles Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras
Having recently received a misguided shout-out from
the president during Black History Month Frederick Douglass has done
an amazing job... it seems a good time to revisit the cultural icon's
legitimate place in history. And a visit to his home in Washington, DC
surely a place the current president might want to consider visiting himself
would be a good place to start.
Cedar Hill: Frederick Douglass' Home is as Imposing
as the Man who Lived There
Discovering Art, Culture and Cuisine in Lancaster
Lancaster has always been one of those cities that I pass
through on the way to some other destination. But last week was different.
I finally took the time to explore the place and wow, was I surprised!
I discovered a downtown full of charm, culture, cuisine and community
spirit. My recent getaway began when a friend and I drove about 60 miles
north of Los Angeles toward the Mojave Desert and checked into the Towneplace
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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