The early morning train pulling into the station in Santa Barbara, CA.
I‘m so enamoured with the very idea of train travel. I watch old films in which high jinx inevitably ensues on a train and I’m filled with a hankering to pack vintage Vuitton trunks, don my best Sunday chapeau, kid gloves, possibly even seamed stockings, and hop a luxurious sleeper to Lake Louise or some other equally picturesque locale. A girlfriend of mine recently took the train across Canada and other than being charged by an elk on the Jasper Park Lodge trail in Alberta, loved it.
Yes, charged by an elk. I’m quite sure cocktails were in order in the dining car that night.
Earlier this year I took (for the first time) just a four hour journey on the train that runs along the coast of California. Although, much to my dismay, there was neither a dapper George Sanders-type sitting across from me, nor a twinkly eyed octogenarian knitting as she shared the intricate details of a jewel heist she’d unwittingly become the foil for two carriages back, I still thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Departing Santa Barbara very early on a weekend morning with nary another passenger in sight, I had the entire 2nd floor carriage to myself for much of the journey. The sun was just rising, casting a gentle, apricot-hued haze upon the scenery slipping by the large windows.
I had a book, magazines, my Kindle, camera, laptop and hellooo-even wifi on the train.
I sat at a ‘4 top’, slipped off my Uggs (the silk stockings didn’t make the cut) and made myself at home.
I’d brought a thermos of Nespresso and snacks with me. Lots of snacks. Just in case Nazis pulled the train to a screeching halt in search of the priceless art hidden…let’s say right below my seat. Always be prepared is my motto. I wasn’t a girl guide for years to slink away with nothing but a smattering of badges glued instead of sewn on my wrinkled sash.
But I digress…
Luckily, the trip was smooth, calm and virtually crime-free so I didn’t have to share my snacks with anyone. (there was the cranky train warden that came up towards the end and made me move from the ‘4 top’ because I was a ‘single’ even though the train was virtually empty) WhatEVER. Single person discrimination I say.
I arrived at my destination well rested, well fed, and most importantly, without the battle fatigue of fighting traffic for four + hours. Genius. Frankly, I can’t wait to do it again.
Someday, somewhere, sometime I might even be lucky enough to experience a trip on the Orient Express.
Seamed stockings indeed.
How about you? Do you have any train film favourites or possibly great train journeys you would recommend? I’d love to hear.
This time last year; CIAO ORVILLE