One of my favorite ways to travel is by train.
I once took an overnight train from Rome to Paris.
Then I did it again, but from Thailand to Malaysia.
I even rode a train all the way from Seattle to San Francisco!
What I'm trying to say is that I just really, really like trains.
I always meet interesting characters on the train, like that Iranian man who sat next to us in Thailand and sang us every Celine Dion song he knew (
and it was a lot) while we slowly chugged south to Malaysia.
But it's more than just the people.
Besides a boat, I cannot think of another form a travel that is relaxing.
I like the sound of the wheels on the tracks.
I like the steady sway from side to side.
I like the huge windows and comfy seats.
I like watching the world pass by in a blur.
For me, being on a train just feels nice.
While on our three week road trip through New Zealand, I was stoked to take a train ride through the south island's Taieri plain and gorge.
I thought it would be an excellent break from the cramped backseat of the car (
and it was).
I knew the minute we climbed on board the cute yellow train that we struck gold.
Joe and Gigi, a retired couple in their 70s, were our seats mates.
Gigi was a talker and Joe was surly as ever.
They regaled us with tales of their adventures, both thirty years old and more recent: climbing the Inca Trail, riding in a hot air balloon in Turkey, taking a helicopter safari in Botswana and exploring the pyramids in Egypt.
Getting to meet them was so much fun.
I can only hope we have enough spunk in us 50 years from now to still be globetrotting the world, one misadventure after another.
The train ride itself was stunningly beautiful.
The journey begins in Dunedin, a city situated on the south island's lower east side, and heads inland through the Taieri plain and gorge.
The plain was lush and green and full of while, fluffy sheep.
The region used to be a swampy flatland but was drained in the 1850s and is now a huge expanse of farmland.
The gorge itself was immense.
The train tracks were built high above the gorge, carved out by the Taieri River and more than 25 miles long, and the train hugs the steep ravine for a good hour before popping out in more farmland.
The final destination is Middlemarch.
There, locals set up a farmers market to sell Merino wool and other hand made, farm products.
This was easily one of my favorite things we did in New Zealand.
From the good conversation to the views to the fun things we bought at the farmers market, it was a great way to spend half a day!