“One of the Best Train Journeys in the World” – Who could turn such a statement down??

by Brian Carroll on October 30, 2012

Post image for “One of the Best Train Journeys in the World” – Who could turn such a statement down?? My first four months of travel through Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Hawaii were for the most part planned and done solo. While traveling alone affords independence, there is something to be said for sharing travel experiences with friends, something I'd be able to do for the first 2 1/2 weeks of my journey in South America. So with no further ado, here's a quick bio on my buddy James. Age: 27 Status: In a relationship - Sorry ladies Job: Nerd er, I mean Engineer Hobbies: Volleyball, Travel, Dancing w/Peruvian chicks, Being a Human Encyclopedia Turn-ons: A sense of humor, Walks on the beach, Tom Brady Turn-offs: Smoking, Bad dancers as you can tell As a little background, when James and I were in LA this past summer, we sat down and put together a 2+ week itinerary for our travels together that would take us through the south of PeruUnitl (Puno/Lake Titicaca; Arequipa) and then down to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Our first point of interest together: The PeruRail train from Cusco to Puno. Until I started researching this part of the trip, my expectation was that'd we'd take a bus as it'd be simple and cost effective. After reading a bit about the train ride, I was immediately intrigued by it's mention as one of the greatest train journeys in the world (Society of International Railway Travelers) and the second best long distance tourism destination (by a number of well known magazines).  From that we were committed and as my buddy James had put it so well, "never turn down a unique opportunity," - and this was just that. The train ride: The atmosphere of the train itself felt like something you'd get riding the Orient Express in Europe during the 1920s. It was classy and presented an aura of old sophistication – obviously we were out of our element a bit... One thing that was apparent to both of us quite quickly was that this wasn't a train for the young traveler or typical backpacker. The average age of passengers hovered around 55, and then there was James and myself. During the train ride, the staff offered us passengers some random entertainment: live Peruvian music, a bartending class making local drinks, some traditional Peruvian dance presentations (James can speak more to this) and even a fashion show...yes, a fashion show (well, that was what it was supposed to be though it was basically just the workers putting on a scarf or sweater and walking down the corridor with it – I guess as a way to sell items...it was a bit odd...see pics). Anyways, the train meandered by pretty mountain passes, rivers and a few tiny towns that gave you the sense of being in the middle of Mexico in my opinion. At one point, it stopped in a tiny local town that sat at an elevation of 13,000 feet, and afforded me the opportunity to purchase a much needed beanie with llamas on it – standard Peru gear. In all, the train ride was pretty comfortable and enjoyable, but overall, I don't think it sits leaps and bounds above other trains for scenery and thus, if money was a factor, I would probably take the bus between these destinations were I to do it again.

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