I have always loved travelling, and as the end of my time at university drew to a close I knew that settling straight into a job, sat behind a desk, wasn’t for me. Fast forward a few months and here I am, just a few weeks away from moving to Beijing to spend a year teaching English, whilst experiencing and exploring the fascinating culture and history that China has to offer.
Have you ever sat down and thought up a list of the places that you want to visit before you become old and wizened? Here at Exploration, we spend most of our lives doing just that. Now we’re turning our thoughts into text: our writers have been given a sack of imaginary cash and told to go and plan where and how they’d spend their five dream days abroad. This is Suzy Pope’s Bucket List.
Strictly speaking, my Bucket List was supposed to consist of “days out”, so at first I started by looking at shorter day-long train journeys. But as I researched, I became more and more enamoured with the idea of longer journeys: I wanted to write about big, opulent, week-long affairs. Then I thought to myself, “This is a Bucket List. There’s no reason it can’t contain my wildest fantasies in train travel”. And I do have some very wild train fantasies. So if I were to win big at the races or ace a Pointless geography round, here’s how I’d spend the money and see all of Europe in style.
GLACIER EXPRESS, SWITZERLAND (7 HOURS)
A trip through the Alps is probably the most romantic train journey Europe has to offer, and the Alpine scenery doesn’t come much prettier than that in Switzerland. The Glacier Express offers panoramic views of the majestic mountains with its floor to ceiling windows and skylights. As you trundle high above the Alpine villages on the 7 hour journey from Zermatt to St Moritz, you can admire the unspoilt mountains view while working your way through a three course lunch and a bottle of champagne. The journey costs around £90 for a basic ticket, excluding lunch, but considering I’ve paid much more than that to get from Edinburgh to London before – definitely without the pristine ‘Sound of Music’ style mountain backdrop – maybe this trip won’t stay on my to do list for long.
(Panoramic views of the Alps for as little as £90, www.planetrail.co.uk)