Traveling Europe by Rail

Author: , October 29th, 2013

Train TracksFor many privileged South Africans, the words “Eurail Pass” bring back memories of epic backpack journeys through Europe during university years abroad.

The famed “youth” Eurail passes are still one of the Netherlands-based Eurail Group’s landmark products, but this company that works with some 30 European railways and shipping lines sells nearly 850 different types of passes, covering 25 European countries and offering passes that work for a wide range of time periods.

Using one of these passes is arguably the most flexible and economical ways to get around Europe, even if you’re just visiting one or a few countries. And for gay travelers, it’s worth noting that these passes are perfect for planning a trip to two or more of Europe’s main GLBT capitals – Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, and Prague among them.

See the Full Story at Going Nowhere Queerly

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Riding the Glacier Express

Author: , June 8th, 2013

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on the go again, this time in Italy. She has graciously allowed us to republish her travel blogs. Enjoy!

Glacier Express, SwitzerlandAs I said yesterday, we were going on another scenic train today. Fortunately, the weather cooperated and we had a wonderful trip over the Alps.

We left Pontresina this morning about 9:00 and boarded the Glacier Express train at 9:30 in Samedan. The train started climbing, then we went through a tunnel that spiraled down a mountain. That was interesting. Kind of made some of us a bit queasy!

We could see the front of the train as we went over the Landwasser Viaduct. The train kept climbing, but we could see a village below us.

We went through the city of Chur, which is the oldest city in Switzerland. It has a history of civilization dating back 5,000 years.

Not long after going through Chur, we saw the beginning of the Rhine River, in a huge gorge, called the Swiss Grand Canyon

Around noon, we had a delicious lunch, served by our waiters. Roast pork, vegetables and spatzle, those great German noodles.

As we climbed higher and higher, the train had to use a cog wheel to help it climb to Oberalppass, which is 2,033 meters above sea level. (6700 feet, approximately.). Here, we could look over snow fields that looked so barren and cold. Out in the snow was a little lighthouse. However, if one looked out the windows on the other side of the train, there was the highway, with a group of motorcycles, a couple of hardy bicyclists, and several cars going by. Interesting.

From that point, we started our descent into the Rhone valley. Now we could see where the Rhone river began, but it was just a trickle of a stream up here.

Our good weather went away, and by the time we got to Brig, it was raining. Fortunately, the rain stopped before we got to Zermatt.

We arrived here at 5:30 p.m. It had been a lovely experience. So much beauty in so many different forms. I felt like I had sensory overload.

We walked a bit through town, found a nice restaurant and had dinner. By the time dinner was over, we were all feeling tired. So, here we are, settling in for the night and praying for good weather tomorrow and more adventures,

I will write again very soon. I hope you are traveling with us, in spirit,anyway. Till next time.

Want to Follow Bella’s Latest Adventure Directly? Check Out Dolly Travels

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Riding the Orient Express

Author: , April 14th, 2012

Orient Express Venice to ParisThere is something supremely seductive about train travel. Ever since my childhood, I have been fascinated by trains, the destinations they visit, the people you meet along the way, and the occasional mystery that may take place onboard. Apparently, I am not the only one who feels this way. Writers and filmmakers have created a litany of work that celebrates trains and the role they play in our lives. The very first “train” film I saw was Von Ryan’s Express, starring Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard. I was mesmerized from the start as Sinatra and his fellow POWs escape from a concentration camp, take over a train, and pretend to be Nazis so they can make their way to freedom in Switzerland.

Since then, I’ve discovered other exciting films that I watch every chance I get. These include The Train, starring Burt Lancaster; Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes; Travels With My Aunt, starring Maggie Smith in one of the best roles of her career; From Russia With Love, with Sean Connery as James Bond (which has some great scenes on the Orient-Express); and, of course, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, which takes place entirely on the train.

With this in mind, you can imagine how I felt when I received an invitation to journey from Venice to Paris on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express ( It was a dream come true! I would travel from my favorite city in Europe, across the Swiss Alps, and into Paris onboard the most luxurious train in the world. First, however, preparations had to be made. My partner and I needed white dinner jackets, tuxedos, cufflinks, pocket squares…and…?

Full Story from Passport Magazine

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Orient-Express welcomes the International LGBT Community

Author: , January 1st, 2012

Orient-Express Hotels welcomes the International LGBT Community  |  Orient-Express  | Orient-Express is an elite collection of hotels, cruises and luxury rail adventures in 25 countries, across five continents. The company has offered exceptional luxury travel experiences since 1976, when it purchased Hotel Cipriani in Venice and shortly afterwards recreated the celebrated Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, linking London, Paris and Venice.

Today, Orient-Express owns or part-owns and manages 49 businesses, 39 of which are highly acclaimed hotels, each unique in style, from the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town and Rio’s Copacabana Palace, to the Maroma Resort and Spa on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The company also embraces river cruisers in France and Myanmar, luxury trains in Europe, the Far East and Peru, and the celebrated ’21’ restaurant in New York.
is proud to introduce you to a select group of Orient-Express properties welcoming the international LGBT Community to their stunning and unique properties, and destinations with open arms. Certainly A Journey Like no other. Find out more and see the list of properties participating @ Orient-ExpressCM

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