Harry Potter: the Great Benefactor of Train Journeys

The latest issue of Wanderlust put the train ride that passes over the Glenfinnan Viaduct as the number one train journey of the year (and the year is just getting started). Although the viaduct is famous for being the first concrete rail viaduct, that fame is now eclipsed by being the viaduct on the train journey to Hogwart’s. Even though we are big Harry Potter fans (books 1 and 3 most of all) we did not know the location of Glenfinnan Viaduct. But when we were in Scotland last year, our traveling companions insisted that it couldn’t be missed. So we headed there by car to take a look.

Brad on our walk over to inspect the viaduct from a closer vantage point.

Up close, the viaduct has that old and gloomy feel that only concrete can convey. We decided to head under it and past it to the hills beyond so that we could get a look at the tracks and what the view might be like from the actual train.

After hopping from rock to rock and slogging through wet grass we reached a small but high enough hill to appreciate the entire Scotish country side. Brad wanted to go higher, trying to match some hikers on the opposite hill (pictured in the image bellow) trying to find a route all the way to the top. But given that the Scottish weather is always inviting one to be indoors having a nice cup of warm chocolate by a fire, we opted for that outcome instead.

So many train journeys so little time. There are a number of other train journeys we’ve had the pleasure of being on. Thanks to my mother we got to go on both the Oslo – Bergen railway and the Flåm Railroad. Both are through spectacular Norwegian country side and Bergen itself is a nice destiantion to end up in. The journey to Bergen is through the Hardanger plateau with 200 tunnels, 300 bridges and huge amounts of water changing state – frozen to liquid or vice versa.

The Flåm railroad is quick in comparison with a short 20 kilometer ride but follows the only way down the mountain, that of the water.

The Bernina Express in Switzerland has very little express in it as its name might intimate but the gorgeous countryside keeps your eyes busy.

These are some more journeys I hope to take:

  • Cusco to Puno (Peru)
  • Hiram Bingham (Cusco to Machu Picchu)
  • Rocky Mountaineer (Canada)
  • Canadian (Toronto to Vancouver in several days)
  • Ghan (Australia, a recent track)
  • Shangri-la Express (China)
  • Pride of Africa or Royal Scotsman (for it’s luxury)
  • The Voyage of Vientiane (Thailand-Laos-Vietnam)
  • Los Mochis to Chihuahua (Mexico)
  • Maglev Train (Shanghai Airport)

We need to go visit Scotland again for the Hebrides, I am sure while we are there we could find the time to actually take the train over the viaduct. It’ll be great to enjoy the view with a coffee in hand instead of standing on a moist and slippery hill.

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