Day Two Monday 21st April 2014
Sleeping on a train is rather interesting. In India I don’t think I really ever slept on the trains all that well. The train was constantly stopped & starting causing a fair bit of rocking. It was quiet nice actually. I woke up a few times but fell straight back asleep again. My bunk was super comfy. It was made up whilst we were at dinner. Each bed has thick doona & crispy sheets, even a pillow chocolate.
Dinner last night was slightly disappointing after such a good lunch. My entrée of field mushrooms & haloumi cheese was soaked in far too much balsamic vinegar. I feel it had been sitting on the warmer for a long time, as the cheese was bone hard & cold. I appreciate there are a lot of people to serve in a short time but haloumi needs cooking & serving immediately. At least all the courses came quickly. (In Perth last week the average wait for lunch was 40 minutes) My main of vegetable lasagne was nice but was cold sat on top of a searing hot plate. My mum’s roast pork was tough & the crackling inedible as it was cold & dried out. My dad’s lamb was nice, cooked right & warm.
I skipped the Kalgoorlie tour as I fell asleep waiting to arrive. (I’ve been there three times already anyway.) The tour left at 10:30pm for two hours so I opted for an early night instead. Sleeping served me far better!
Breakfast made up for the previous nights dinner. Hot & freshly cooked eggs Florentine, toast, cereals & lashings of tea! Very impressed with this.
We have a few more hours till we cross over to the South Australian boarder. After a lovely meditation back in my cabin it’s time to watch the world go by.
The Nullarbor plains are vast, flat, baron outback bush. Just watching thousands of miles of red land flying by against the blue sky is mesmerizing. The first time I crossed the Nullarbor in a truck I got very motion sick & missed most of it. The next few times I was so doped up with travel sickness tablets I slept all the way. This time it’s great to actually sit back & take in the landscape.
I have a whole day ahead of me now to relax & write. Napping, herbal tea drinking & more eating will feature too. We’re just pulling into the Ghost town of Cook, population of four. Time to get off & get some fresh air!
- Being rocked to sleep in my bunk under a thick, snugly doona.
- Having a few glasses of crisp WA sparkling wine, a nice treat.
- My cabins picture window. It’s right by the fold out table so I can type & view simultaneously.
- The hot, freshly cooked breakfast of eggs, toast & tea.
- Having a shower whilst moving, kind of fun rocking & rolling having a scrub. (Shower is awesome, hot & powerful, I’m not one for hanging around but I did in this one)
- The classical music channel on the sound system, no need to use up my iPod battery.
- Turn down & turn up bed service. My bed is made for me whilst at dinner & put away again at breakfast the next day.
- A staff member speaking fluent conversational French to some European travellers. (Usually the rule is when in Aus speak English)
Not so highlights:
- The air conditioning being on full blast I’m freezing! (Solved by leaving the door open to let some out. Less private but get a view from the corridor window too)
- The above is drying out my nose & throat, just like being on a plane. Kleenex is my new best friend.
- No fresh air. I’ve been sucking some in from the interconnecting carriage bit but we’re not supposed to loiter there, bit dangerous. None of the windows open. For someone who rarely sits in A/C & is used to fresh air it’s challenging.
- Disappointing evening meal.
Day Two continued:
Around 11:30am we pull into the ghost town of Cook. Its only purpose really is a stop for the trains to refuel, dump waste & raise money for the Flying Doctors. We get half an hour to look around the deserted town. We see the old school, swimming pool, houses & gaol huts.
I’m itching to get outside for some fresh air. It’s a balmy 27 degrees & the flies are friendly. It’s good to have a walk & suck up some oxygen. Cook is an interesting place, a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. Hard to believe it had enough occupants once to service a school & hospital. Now only the caretakers, a family of four, live there.
Getting back in the A/C doesn’t seem so cold anymore! I shouldn’t complain it’s easier to rug up than cool down & we were told to pack warm tops.
The landscape has changed now we are in SA. It’s getting hilly; the dirt is redder & the vegetation more dense. The young waiter at lunch exclaimed his excitement at seeing the hills “it means I’m getting nearer to home.” The crew members are based in Adelaide, which is the central point for all the interstate rail routes.
Lunch is the same as yesterday & just as nice. There are four choices of mains to choose from. I sample the Tasmanian salmon today. The combination of A/C & planetary activity is bringing on a head cold I’m craving some denser protein. After we’ve eaten we sit a while in the lounge to enjoy a drink & the view.
There are a fair few single travellers on board. The majority of people in the Gold Class are over 50. I am very much in the majority. Our observation is because Australian pension cardholders get a hefty 50% discount on fares it attracts the silver surfers. You can spend the day relaxing reading or kicking back in the bar. I know where my other half would have been happily parked up for the afternoon if he were with us. It’s a safe & luxurious way to travel solo.
Back to my writing & workshop planning. Swing music is on the sound system this afternoon to entertain me whilst I sip my peppermint tea. This is a very decadent way to travel for sure. Soul cup is brimming to the edge.
Swing by next Tuesday for my final installment of my train travel adventure as we reach our destination the magical city of Adelaide.
Love K xx