It may be a cliche, but sometimes the journey can be just as astonishing as the destination.
I love catching trains. The ease, the ability to wander around whilst speeding through the countryside, the sweeping corners, the friendly people dispensing hot tea, staring out the windows for hours as the world chugs past, generous luggage allowances and the whistling engineers with grease smudges in their eye and rosy cheeks.
All you need is a train ticket, a snack and a sense of adventure.
Christchurch to Greymouth, New Zealand
Crowning my list is one of the top railway journeys in the world – the 4-hour Tranzalpine journey from Christchurch to Greymouth.
Cross the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, and enjoy thrilling vistas over deep gorges as you travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River. Traverse the mighty Southern Alps, where spectacular views of the chiselled alpine landscape will take your breath away at every turn.
Munich to Wendelstein Mountain, Germany
Very, very vague plans made via an internet tipoff, we hopped onto one of the regional services (the Bayerische Oberlandbahn GmbH or BOB).
Watching the sports-mad locals unfold their hiking sticks and uncap their beer bottles (seriously) as they strode up along rocky paths, at that point we realised that we’d definitely gone off the map. Luckily spotting a small cut-through path wending under the train station and over a trickling stream, we found the cable car that winched us up 2,000 metres literally into the clouds.
Chesham to Harrow-on-the-Hill, England
This was a very rare treat and a relatively brief one – but no less enjoyable.
The weekend started with a delicious cocktail in a glamorous London bar, but by the end of it, I was found on a tube station platform, eagerly awaiting an original London Underground Steam train running especially for Chesham’s 125th birthday.
Kyoto to Tokyo, Japan
For us, Japan was a country of two halves (oh, and they’re getting pretty good at rugby) the old, beautiful traditions and a new modern world adapting itself to the future. It’s all the more amazing for how easily they seem to meld the two.
As we turned a corner, in front of us – cloaked in Winter splendour – Mount Fuji revealed herself. Her peak mostly bare of clouds we took several long moments to simply breathe in the auspicious and rare sight.
London to Broadstairs, England
The most of this trip is pretty enough rolling countryside, but it was the last 20 minutes that I really loved. The jewel-like sea giving way to snow white cliffs.
What are your favourite journeys so far?
(Ps. keep scrolling for the travellinkup and then a Pinnable image.)