Archive for the 'Train' Category

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Vietnam Voyage Is A 23 minute excursion from Saigon to DaNang  by air, from DaNang to Hue by train and then from Hue to Hanoi by air. TotalAdventure explores the main sites of the 4 historic cities with culinary adventures ,such as cobra snake in Hanoi.

Jun 14th
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After two days in Da Nang, TotalAdventure moved on to Hue on the Reunification Express. Unlike other things in Vietnam, the train has not changed at all, except that the French built cars we rode in in 1993 are now 25 years older. “Express” is a hopeful term, as it too nearly 3 hours to cover 43 miles( 70 km).Beautiful views.

Hue is the exact center of Vietnam and incredibly beautiful.

We’ll move this later , but our travelers will surely enjoy this beautiful videoof a bridge in Da Nag.

Oct 3rd
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On The Morning Of July 9,2017 We began our trip from the Baltics to Germany As you leave Riga, you see the tallest structure in the country – a Soviet TV tower.

 

From Riga, one can go anywhere in Europe, Moscow,Kiev ,Minsk and onwards to China.

 

Afternoon stop in Lithuania. As part of the EU – the only formal border crossing s are with neighboring Belarus and Russian Kaliningrad. The currency is the Euro.

 

Buses to all parts of the small country.

Finally that night, Bialystok, Poland.

 

The next day, we continue West, passing though Warsaw and Lodz.

We stop in our ancestral hometown of Stargard, , traditionally German, now occupied by Poland, Thanks to Josef  Stalin. Here our Great, Great Great And Great Great Great Grandfathers were Baptized.

A Library Tower In Stargard.

A Middle Ages Warrior .

On Tuesday, July 11 , we finally arrive in East Germany. This house looks as if it might hold soldiers from World War 2 even now.

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From September 14th to September 17th, TotalAdventure travelled on the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage north to Talkeetna, back to Anchorage and South to Seward as well as whistle stops in glacier areas. The video shows a compilation of the entire trip, along with the the incredible adventure experiences offered in each area.

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On the morning of the 14th, we left Anchorage on the Denali Star Train at 7:50 AM for the 3 hour ,150  mile ride North to Talkeetna. As Gold Star passengers we were seated in a glassed roofed upper deck, with an outdoor balcony for photography and viewing.Upon arrival at the tiny frontier town we passed Nagley’s Store. The Denali Star Train goes all the way to Fairbanks – an 8 hour journey. Fairbanks is Alaska’s second largest city and serves as a Gateway to the Arctic.

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After lunch we walked to the security –  free , private, Talkeetna Airport for our incredible flight on K2 Aviation to the Denali Base camp, where climbers for Mt.McKinley begin their 2 week climb to the Summit. Experience the flight in the blog posts below.

Afterwards we were invited for cocktails at the incredibly beautiful Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge – 5 Star Luxury Rooms with ample views of Mt.Denali on a clear day. A simple, but hearty dinner was enjoyed at Mountain High Pizza Pie – real Italian style from the owner who hailed from Pittsburgh.

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After a long day we returned to our rustic inn, the Talkeetna Roadhouse , for a good night’s sleep. TotalAdventure stayed up a few hours editing the incredible aviation footage for the video featured on the Mt.Denali post below.

The next morning, Thursday the 15th, our group split in to two. The bravest of us, including TotalAdventure went Ziplining with Denali Zipline Tour.

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The rest went on a jetboat adventure with  Mahay’s Jet Boat Adventures. The rivers run fast and cold, fed by Mt.Denali’s glaciers. Interesting fact – the snow that falls today on Mt. McKinley will flow into the  river 1500 years from now. The boat stops at a remote dock for a wilderness hike, observing old trapper and miner cabins. The guides are armed with shotguns in case of bear attacks – which thankfully have not happened.

 

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After lunch we were treated to a tour of the Denali Brewing Company by founder Sassan Mossanen. Denali Brewing products accompanied many of our meals on the trip. Alaskans drink almost the entire production  – so unfortunately none is yet exported to the Lower 48.

 

Afterwards we returned to Anchorage on the Denali Star , resting for the night at the very comfortable Copper Whale Inn.

Early the next morning, Friday, September 16th at 6:45 Am we boarded the Coastal Classic Train for the 5 hour journey to Seward . It was a short walk from the depot to the town docks, where we boarded a Kenai Fjords Tour Boat for an incredible North Pacific Adventure- see below.

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At the end of the day, chilled to the bone, we checked into our toasty warm cabins at the  Seward Windsong Lodge.  That night , we feasted at the hotel’s restaurant – the Resurrection Roadhouse  – on local seafood delicacies of halibut and cod – fresh, not frozen.

Our final day on the Alaska Railroad Adventure was on the Glacier Discovery Train. Our group rode to the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop to kayak across an icy lake to the Spencer Glacier. We were guided by Ascending Path  ( See Below). The Alaska Railroad is one of the last railroads in the world to use whistle stops. The railroad serves remote areas that don;t warrant a station. Rather, a passenger tells a conductor at what milepost he wants to stop and notifies the engineer with a whistle. When getting back on the train, days or weeks later – the passenger stands by the tracks and flags down the passing train.

Our final night was at the Alyeska Resort – Alaska’s ‘s most luxurious hotel, with beautiful ski slopes overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The season goes from mid November to almost May, with snow measured in feet,not inches. Our final dinner- at 10 PM – reached by cable car – was at the mountain top restaurant Seven Glaciers – amazing Alaskan seafood, Kobe beef  – best of all Spencer Glacier ice in our whiskey glasses.

TotalAdventure has journeyed on many of the world’s railroads, as you can see throughout our blog .The Alaska Railroad is amongst the best run  – and certainly one of the more luxurious trains one can take for a daytrip. Other US train lines do not even begin to compare. Now that winter is approaching the line scales back for one weekly trip – The Aurora Winter Train !

Please scroll below, for all the Alaska Adventures !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On Friday , September 16 we boarded the 6:45 Coastal Classic Train at the Anchorage train station. The three hour jouney follows the coastline south of Anchorage, with occasional sightings of Beluga whales out the window ! The train then traverses the mountains of Chugach National Forest before arriving at Seward. At Seward it was a short walk to the dock.

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We boarded the Coastal Explorer , a sturdy sightseeing craft operated by Kenai Fjords Tours. For the next six hours we explored the northernmost points of the Pacific Ocean, at 60 Degrees North.

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Looks like Hawaii, but with snow. Last winter’s snow still on upper slopes with new snow starting soon.

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American Bald Eagle in Seward Harbor.

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Otter playing and hunting for fish.

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Seals relaxing on a warm ( for them ) 40 degree day.

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Blue ice from Glacier to Ocean.

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Incredible Oceanic Geology.

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Glacial Closeup.

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Fishing village near Seward.

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After the first night in Munich, we were on the train , first to Füssen, then to Bertchesgaden.

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Waterfall At Konstanzsee.

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Happy Bavarian Cow. For further Bavarian highlights, the first post appears after the entire story of the Trans Europe Adventure.

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Entering Schengen. The next stamp was received after having been though 6 countries – leaving Schengen from Hungary into Romania.

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Video Highlights – Germany – Austria – CzechRepublic – Poland – Slovakia – Hungary- Romania and on to Montenegro.

 

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Nightfall in Krakow Poland.

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The Route Travelled by Train.

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Red For Train. Pink For Plane. Blue For Road. Green For Boat.

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Central Europe Panoramic – Austria, Czech Republic,Poland And Hungary.

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After a 4 hour train ride from Vienna, TotalAdventure arrived in Prague – for the first time since 1990, just  after Liberation. Although tourists congregate heavily in the Old City and the population is much wealthier – the medieval buildings have stayed much the same.

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Over the Stari Grad – Old City.

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Habsburgian Architecture.

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Hradcany Castle

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Hradcany by Night.

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On The Metro, about 60 cents US.

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A Musical City.

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Baroque.

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Evening Storks.

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U Modre Kachnicky is one of the best game restaurants in the world outside of Iceland. Here is smoked duck.

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Wild Boar at U Modre Kachnicky.

Jul 27th
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After many hours and 4 trains changes from Kutna Hora, we finally arrived in Krakow about 10 PM , in time for an outdoor dinner behind the Cathedral, where Pope Joh Paul II was Cardinal before 1978.

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In the Staro Grad. Word of warning – don’t change money at the tourist change houses – you will get 25% less than you do in a bank !

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Hearty cuisine – a bit heavy in the summer weather.

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The Pope as Priest – 1960s.

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The sun rises at 5AM in June.

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On To Budapest.

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Shot by TotalAdventure’s Blaine Zuver and Martin Zuver.

 

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A an overnight first class sleeper train ride from Budapest had us arriving fresh and rested on the first morning of summer, June 21.

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The”Dacia” Boarding in Budapesti Keleti.

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Brasov – Romania’s Hollywood ? Brasov is the center of Transylvania.

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Dracula’s Castle, known as Castle Bran, is about 25 km from Brasov. Building began in the 1200s and was added on to over the centuries.

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A hidden stairway deep in the interior.

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The modern day ( 1883 ) Peles Castle, in Sinaia. was built by King Carol.  It was built with electricity,telephones,telegraph and other modern conveniences.

IMG_7456A comfortable drawing room in Peles.

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The Carpathian Mountains are quite undeveloped. There are a few small ski areas, with a long powdery season, rafting,climbing and seeing rare animals that are extinct in Western Europe. For many years only Dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu was allowed to hunt.

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While forcing his subjects to live in poverty and half-starvation,Ceaușescu lived in the grand style of a Communist Emperor .An entire section of Bucharest ( not just a neighborhood, but comparable to the Upper West Side of Manhattan or Soho in London  ) in order to build the People’s Palace – the world’s second largest building in terms of square footage , just after the Pentagon. It took 18 years to complete – from 1978 to 1996 – 7 years after the execution of he and his vile wife Elena.

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A chandelier weighing 5 Metric Tons  – one of over 100 in the building – constructed at a time the populace was relegated to one 40 watt lightbulb per apartment.

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The Dictator. – “Genius of The Carpathians” was one of his many self-bestowed titles.

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One of many grand staircases. Many had to be rebuilt several times in order to make him seem taller than his  short stature.

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The view from one of the balconies from which Ceaucescu would never make a speech.

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One in three adults were rumored to work for the Secret Police – the Securitate.

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In a nautical mode.

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In Nicolae and Elena’s villa – solid gold water faucets. Commoners were rationed to half an hour of hot water every other Sunday.

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Modern radio – circa 1988.

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