jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG 8th June 2020
CORONABOBS ISOLATION DAY 83 – Diary of a Self-Isolator Saturday 6th June 2020
As one of my Lockdown / Self Isolation books I am reading Monisha Rajesh’s Around the World in 80 Trains. It helps make the time in lockdown pass interestingly. And it helps go some way to satisfy the travel lust and the travel by train lust. It is my ambition to travel around the world by train. To be honest I’d like to do it by foot too.
‘Monisha Rajesh has chosen one of the best ways of seeing the world. Never too fast, never too slow, her journey does what trains do best. Getting to the heart of things. Prepare for a very fine ride’ – Michael Palin
From the cloud-skimming heights of Tibet’s Qinghai railway to silk-sheeted splendour on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Around the World in 80 Trains is a celebration of the glory of train travel and a witty and irreverent look at the world.
Packing up her rucksack – and her fiancé, Jem – Monisha Rajesh embarks on an unforgettable adventure that takes her from London’s St Pancras station to the vast expanses of Russia and Mongolia, North Korea, Canada, Kazakhstan, and beyond. The journey is one of constant movement and mayhem, as the pair strike up friendships and swap stories with the hilarious, irksome and ultimately endearing travellers they meet on board, all while taking in some of the earth’s most breath taking views.
Monisha Rajesh’s 5 Favourite Train Journeys
Hugely entertaining and endlessly enlightening, Monisha Rajesh’s Around the World in 80 Trains is one of the stand-out works of travel writing of recent years. In this exclusive piece, Monisha shares the train journeys from around the globe that she has enjoyed the most.
- Hanoi to Da Nang (Vietnam)
Beginning its journey in the roar of Hanoi, the Reunification Express runs the length of the country, curling all the way down to Saigon. However, the finest segment of this two-night adventure sits between Hanoi and Da Nang. Throughout the Vietnam War the railway was bruised and battered by American bombs, but resurrected itself and resumed a regular service after the country’s reunification in 1976. Threading around the capital city, the train offers voyeuristic views into the backs of houses as families unwind for the night, before emerging the following morning in glorious sunshine. Climbing for miles through rising jungle, banana leaves flapping against the windows, the train comes within inches of villagers’ walls and gardens, so close you can make eye contact and wave. At the final stretch, the train curls around the clifftops overlooking the South China Sea where a finger of golden sand runs along the edge of the water at Lang Co Bay, before finally pulling into Da Nang station.
- Cannes to Ventimiglia (France/Italy)
All commuter trains run along this route from France into Italy, which begins in the prim Riviera city and ends ninety minutes later in the lovely shambling Italian market town of Ventimiglia. Hugging the curves of a sparkling Ligurian Sea, the double-decker train runs through lesser-known coastal hideaways like Cagnes-sur-mer, Juan les Pins and Antibes, taking passengers through sun-kissed towns and villages where bougainvillea pour down the walls of pink and yellow apartment blocks, and men with orange chests play pétanque. Stopping at Nice and Monaco, the train brings travellers within gawping distance of yachts bobbing in the bays, teens playing beach volleyball, and Lamborghinis growling along the streets, before approaching roughly stacked hillsides and slowing into the old Italian station.
- Xining to Lhasa (China)
Few train journeys can literally take your breath away, but as the Qinghai-Tibet railway peaks at more than 5,000m above sea level, most passengers will experience some altitude sickness on this extraordinary ride. Connecting Xining in mainland China to Lhasa in Tibet, the highest railway in the world runs through territory so treacherous that it was deemed an engineering impossibility. Waking in the morning to the hiss of purified oxygen being pumped into the compartment, passengers pull up the blackout blind to find views resembling a Rothko painting: a slab of electric blue sky above a block of yellow plateau. Lakes shimmer like molten metal and dreadlocked yaks graze up the hillsides. As the train ascends, the air grows thinner and the dust turns to ice, a blue glow from the Kunlun Mountains closing in around the carriages. On the descent to Lhasa, the terrain smooths out into slopes as soft as suede, with the odd nomad tent strung with prayer flags fluttering in the wind.
- Jasper to Prince Rupert (Canada)
The Skeena train (also known as The Rupert Rocket) travels from Jasper National Park in Alberta deep into the nooks and crannies of British Columbia, where few Canadians have ever been. Departing three days a week the train winds northwest, passing a snow-covered Mount Robson – the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies – the Cariboo Mountains and armies of douglas fir marching down the hillsides. Running along the edge of perfectly still, teal-green lakes, below blazing blue skies, the train allows passengers to look for black bears, white-tailed deer, elk, moose and bald eagles from inside the warmth and comfort of a panoramic dome car. With an overnight stop in Prince George, the train runs through tiny stations named Kwinitsa, Vanderhoof and Penny – home to nine people and four dogs – passing First Nations reservations, sawmill settlements and freshwater lakes filled with salmon, before eventually arriving in Prince Rupert.
- Bangkok to Nam Tok (Thailand)
During the Second World War the Japanese subjected allied prisoners of war to forced labour building a stretch of railway connecting Thailand to Burma with the hope of invading India. Stricken by cholera, beriberi, dysentery and dengue, the men built 257 miles of railway track in fourteen months – 372 including branch lines and sidings – with one death for every sleeper laid. Known now as the “Death Railway”, this is a beautiful but sombre journey that passengers can still experience along a remaining segment from Bangkok Thonburi station to Nam Tok station in Kanchanaburi. Departing twice a day, the train rattles west through jungled territory, brushing against monsoon-heavy branches that sweep through the windows and snap off, scattering twigs around the aisles. Crossing the infamous bridge on the river Kwai, the train rumbles along old wooden trestles, passing tiny, brightly coloured stations, and hooting its arrival while onboard hawkers sell hot noodles, fishcakes and bottles of iced Nescafé.
A new comedy TV series started on Friday night on BBC 1 entitled ‘The Other One’. We missed it and missed recording it. But decided to watch it on i-player on Saturday night. We went for Series 1 Episode 1. But part way through the TV bombed out. On trying to get it back we found a pilot version and watched that. It was a good job we did because it set the scene and opened all the doors and gave explanations for the rest of the new series.
In the Daily Mail the programme was Pick of the Day. If we had read that we would have realised.
“This brilliant, touching comedy from one of the writers behind Motherland tells the story of four opposing women thrust together. In this repeated pilot, to be followed by a new series, married Colin dies, leaving wife Tessa and uptight daughter Cathy devastated – and shocked by his secret life. He had also been with gaudy Marilyn for 30 years, and they had a fun loving, upfront daughter, Cat. Now the two sisters and their mums try to put their differences aside to build a sort of family.”
But it was brilliantly written, acted, directed and produced comedy. Writers Holly Walsh and Pippa Brown Directed and Produced it respectively.
A perfectly wonderful hilarious comedy.
We had a Tree Surgeon come to give us a quote this morning to cut five trees. I was amazed by his use of his I-pad for so many functions in his job. So much so, that I want to be a tree surgeon.
They are also able to work through the pandemic.
We had a great deal of rain Saturday. We have a cover on the patio table and it looked like a small garden pond. I spent part of my day sitting at the patio door waiting for ducks to land on it or swans. But they didn’t!
DON’T FORGET TO LAUGH EVERYDAY ESPECIALLY WHILST IN ISOLATION
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
Be anything but ordinary, and you won’t be replaced.
In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different. — Coco Chanel
Happiness is… Travelling Around the World in 80 Trains
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
“I don’t trust stairs. They’re always up to something.”
Love is… a dedication to each other
5 Things To Be Grateful For During Lockdown/Coronavirus
We are grateful Lockdown gives us a time…
- A time to travel down the road…A time to travel around the world
- A time to travel to the Moon… A time to travel around the circumference of the world
- A time to fly around the circumference of the world by jet plane… A time to fly around the circumference of the world by hot air balloon
- A time to go around the circumference of the world by 80 Trains…A time to go to Nottingham by one train
- A time to catch 80 trains to 80 different destinations on 80 days…A time to read 80 different train travel based books
TOTAL STAIRWAY TO EVERST CLIMB CHALLENGE
DAY 42 63 Times – 144 Feet Cumulative Total 9,540 Feet
HORRIBLE LITTLE NUMBERS
Country Confirmed cases Deaths
1 US 1,942,363 110,514
2 UK 287,621 40,625
3 Brazil 691,758 36,455
4 Italy 234,998 33,899
5 France 187,488 29,103
6 Spain 241,550 27,136
7 Mexico 117,103 13,699
8 Belgium 59,348 9,606
9 Germany 185,869 8,689
10 Iran 171,789 8,281
UK deaths yesterday 77 lowest since start of the pandemic
Global cases Updated 8 Jun at 11:35 local
Confirmed 6,981,701 +85,522
Deaths 401,933 +2,148
Recovered 3,130,718 +43,403
©2020 Phil M Robinson