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When Travel was Romantic

Tiki Tom

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2,681
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Oahu, North Polynesia
I regret to opine that, in hindsight, roughly 1960 to 2020 might be remembered as the Golden Age of Travel; i.e.- the window when airfare was affordable and accessible to most people. I keep reading about how things will be different in the post-pandemic world and it is depressing. No more cheap flights to Europe, packed in tightly with 300 other working Joes/Janes. I've read several articles about how Venice wants tourists back, but only the high-end ones. It will keep the congestion down, don't you know, and help with the social-distancing that is required to contain future pandemics. Additionally with the elimination of middle-seats on planes and other social distancing ideas, airlines will only be able to pack in 60% of the number of pre-pandemic passengers. Airlines are complaining about this and travel analysts are saying ticket prices will have to go up significantly. Depressing.
 

Tiki Tom

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2,681
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Oahu, North Polynesia
Hooray! They are reviving the Vienna to Paris sleeper train! Reminds me of my much younger days when, traveling with long hair and a backpack, I’d occasionally take advantage of a sleeping compartment to sleep and wake up in a new city. Cheap airfares are fine, but there is something romantic about overnight trains. Typically you get in very early and have a chance to experience the city while it’s still empty and just waking up.

https://apnews.com/article/europe-zurich-paris-france-austria-212b75f5eb65f5acfee0938cc80a8bf5
 
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15,938
Location
New York City
Hooray! They are reviving the Vienna to Paris sleeper train! Reminds me of my much younger days when, traveling with long hair and a backpack, I’d occasionally take advantage of a sleeping compartment to sleep and wake up in a new city. Cheap airfares are fine, but there is something romantic about overnight trains. Typically you get in very early and have a chance to experience the city while it’s still empty and just waking up.

https://apnews.com/article/europe-zurich-paris-france-austria-212b75f5eb65f5acfee0938cc80a8bf5

That's exciting news.

Very early morning is one of my favorite times to experience a city.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,720
Location
vancouver, canada
Aww. After 75 years, Alitalia airlines is biting the dust. For me, part of the excitement of travel was, prices allowing, flying the National carrier of wherever I was going. Ciao Bella, Alitalia. :(

https://www.reuters.com/business/ae...75-turbulent-years-hands-over-ita-2021-10-14/
I flew to Europe for the first time in the late 1960's....stopping to refuel in Keflavik. To me flight was never romantic.....even back then it was about as romantic as Greyhound bus travel but admittedly a quicker way to get to Europe. I remember the BOAC stewardesses walking the aisles passing out cigarettes to all that wanted to smoke. That must have been a treat to the non smokers on the flights. Then returning one trip from the UK not too long after Laila Khaled & the PLO hijacked a plane I had my first brush with a full body pat down before entering the plane. I would probably still be in jail if they had found the EDC I carried in my boot.
 

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
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9,971
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My mother's basement
I’ll fly because it’s cheaper and a helluva lot faster, but I start counting down to arrival time from the moment I plop my ass in one of those narrow (but cheap!) airplane seats.

But if time isn’t the primary consideration, I’ll drive. And I still find it plenty romantic. I fully expect future generations will look back on our era — the mid-20th century to the early 21st — and our family vacations by station wagon and college road trips and such and think, dang, wasn’t that a way to live!

They’d be right about that. The open road out here in the American West, our wide-open spaces and our young cities and all our smaller settlements in between, that’s my country. And I love seeing it from ground level.

The experience isn’t quite the same our grandparents knew when they covered the same territory when they were young — the “Golden Era,” as it’s known in this online community — but it isn’t so different, either. The free ice water at Wall Drug might not be the draw it was in 1938, but Wall Drug is still there.
 
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GHT

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8,436
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New Forest
glenfinnin1.jpg

"Harry Potter" fans can ride the Hogwarts Express through the Scottish Highlands. The Jacobite train, which was used in the "Harry Potter" films, is operated by West Coast Rail and takes passengers on an 84-mile long journey through Scotland. We might just do that next year.
 

Edward

Bartender
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23,564
Location
London, UK
I’ll fly because it’s cheaper and a helluva lot faster, but I start counting down to arrival time from the moment I plop my ass in one of those narrow (but cheap!) airplane seats.

But if time isn’t the primary consideration, I’ll drive. And I still find it plenty romantic. I fully expect future generations will look back on our era — the mid-20th century to the early 21st — and our family vacations by station wagon and college road trips and such and think, dang, wasn’t that a way to live!

They’d be right about that. The open road out here in the American West, our wide-open spaces and our young cities and all our smaller settlements in between, that’s my country. And I love seeing it from ground level.

The experience isn’t quite the same our grandparents knew when they covered the same territory when they were young — the “Golden Era,” as it’s known in this online community — but it isn’t so different, either. The free ice water at Wall Drug might not be the draw it was in 1938, but Wall Drug is still there.

I live in hope of high-speed trains becoming a replacement for flying across Europe. I like flying long-haul, but I hate the faff it takes to fly for the sake of a short hop. No other realistic choice when it's time for a family visit to Ireland, given it would take the guts of a day and a half by land and sea, but I dislike those short-hop flights. For Scotland or Paris I much prefer the train. Door to door it's rarely longer a trip by train - in fact, it's faster, in my experience, for Paris. Much nicer, too. So much less hassle to arrive in the middle of the city rather than at an airport miles out of town!

View attachment 376812
"Harry Potter" fans can ride the Hogwarts Express through the Scottish Highlands. The Jacobite train, which was used in the "Harry Potter" films, is operated by West Coast Rail and takes passengers on an 84-mile long journey through Scotland. We might just do that next year.

The village in which I grew up has long been the home-base of the RPSI - Railway Preservation Society of Ireland. The village itself was a product of the railway at the turn of the twentieth century - my parents' first house there was a 'Railway Villa', one of a number of houses that were built in the area in order to take advantage of an offer of free railway travel https://www.steamtrainsireland.com/about/whitehead-history . We grew up going to see and take short runs on the steam trains. Nowadays they do day trip excursions, including some in December with Santa on board, on the Portrush Flyer. I've not made it to try any of the British equivalents, but it's definitely something I'd love to try one day.
 

PrivateEye

One of the Regulars
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113
Location
Boston, MA
But if time isn’t the primary consideration, I’ll drive. And I still find it plenty romantic. I fully expect future generations will look back on our era — the mid-20th century to the early 21st — and our family vacations by station wagon and college road trips and such and think, dang, wasn’t that a way to live!

They’d be right about that. The open road out here in the American West, our wide-open spaces and our young cities and all our smaller settlements in between, that’s my country. And I love seeing it from ground level.

My wife and I had the opportunity to take a 14-day road trip from Boston to Kansas and back this summer - admittedly it could have been a 4 or 5 day journey, but we took as many side trips and backroads as we could find.

Not being under any time constraints obviously isn't the norm, but I'll put it up against any first-class international trip we've ever taken. Seeing the "fly-over states" at eye level was a treat, and disconnecting from the rest of the world and wandering at a whim was unforgettable.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
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8,720
Location
vancouver, canada
My wife and I had the opportunity to take a 14-day road trip from Boston to Kansas and back this summer - admittedly it could have been a 4 or 5 day journey, but we took as many side trips and backroads as we could find.

Not being under any time constraints obviously isn't the norm, but I'll put it up against any first-class international trip we've ever taken. Seeing the "fly-over states" at eye level was a treat, and disconnecting from the rest of the world and wandering at a whim was unforgettable.
In 2014 my wife and I purchased a motor home and pre Covid spent -4 months a year travelling the US west. We would have a general direction and a very general routing but within that would wander. We would see a place we liked, either a state/national park or a small town and would what we call 'plunk' for anywhere from a few days to a week or more. When we had explored the area on our bikes we would pull up stakes and head further on down the road. We have now covered all the states on the left hand side of our Rand McNally road atlas book and are contemplating it is time to sell the RV. But those 5 years of wandering about were absolutely wonderful. The US western states are a marvel, ....great scenery, great people, wonderful memories.
 

Bushman

I'll Lock Up
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4,031
Location
Joliet
I’ll fly because it’s cheaper and a helluva lot faster, but I start counting down to arrival time from the moment I plop my ass in one of those narrow (but cheap!) airplane seats.

But if time isn’t the primary consideration, I’ll drive. And I still find it plenty romantic. I fully expect future generations will look back on our era — the mid-20th century to the early 21st — and our family vacations by station wagon and college road trips and such and think, dang, wasn’t that a way to live!

They’d be right about that. The open road out here in the American West, our wide-open spaces and our young cities and all our smaller settlements in between, that’s my country. And I love seeing it from ground level.

The experience isn’t quite the same our grandparents knew when they covered the same territory when they were young — the “Golden Era,” as it’s known in this online community — but it isn’t so different, either. The free ice water at Wall Drug might not be the draw it was in 1938, but Wall Drug is still there.

I find flying more trouble than it's worth. If time isn't an issue for me, I try to drive. I remember treating myself to a roadtrip right out of college as a graduation present to myself. In grade school, I'd read about the great American roadtrips people took across the country back when cars first became fashionable, and it'd been a bucket list item ever since then. I enjoyed myself immensely. I've always found driving to be relaxing an enjoyable. Then again, I'm from Illinois. It takes 10 hours to get from one end of the state to the other. I'd consider a drive to Cincinnati no sweat!

View attachment 376812
"Harry Potter" fans can ride the Hogwarts Express through the Scottish Highlands. The Jacobite train, which was used in the "Harry Potter" films, is operated by West Coast Rail and takes passengers on an 84-mile long journey through Scotland. We might just do that next year.
There's something timelessly charming about traveling by rail. Even when I take the commuter train into the city, I find it thrilling everytime.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
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8,720
Location
vancouver, canada
I find flying more trouble than it's worth. If time isn't an issue for me, I try to drive. I remember treating myself to a roadtrip right out of college as a graduation present to myself. In grade school, I'd read about the great American roadtrips people took across the country back when cars first became fashionable, and it'd been a bucket list item ever since then. I enjoyed myself immensely. I've always found driving to be relaxing an enjoyable. Then again, I'm from Illinois. It takes 10 hours to get from one end of the state to the other. I'd consider a drive to Cincinnati no sweat!

There's something timelessly charming about traveling by rail. Even when I take the commuter train into the city, I find it thrilling everytime.
When my wife moved from Edmonton to be with me in Vancouver she thought it would fun for her to take the train instead of fly. I picked her up at the train station and in my mind I saw her slow motion running towards me down the platform where smiling we would embrace. Instead she stomped towards me, with a scowl on her face.....instead of an embrace she grabbed my by the lapels and said promise me you will never ever ever let me do something so horrible as this ever again! Apparently it was close to the worst 24 hours of her life (versus a one hour plane ride). So let me just say ever since we have been somewhat reluctant to engage in the notion of rail travel as anything close to 'romantic'.
 

Bushman

I'll Lock Up
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4,031
Location
Joliet
When my wife moved from Edmonton to be with me in Vancouver she thought it would fun for her to take the train instead of fly. I picked her up at the train station and in my mind I saw her slow motion running towards me down the platform where smiling we would embrace. Instead she stomped towards me, with a scowl on her face.....instead of an embrace she grabbed my by the lapels and said promise me you will never ever ever let me do something so horrible as this ever again! Apparently it was close to the worst 24 hours of her life (versus a one hour plane ride). So let me just say ever since we have been somewhat reluctant to engage in the notion of rail travel as anything close to 'romantic'.
The irony of your name being Belfastboy, as my only experience with anything near to high speed rail was when I did a study abroad in Dublin for two weeks, and spent the weekend visiting friends in Belfast! And I found it an enjoyable, 2hour trip.
 

belfastboy

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8,720
Location
vancouver, canada
The irony of your name being Belfastboy, as my only experience with anything near to high speed rail was when I did a study abroad in Dublin for two weeks, and spent the weekend visiting friends in Belfast! And I found it an enjoyable, 2hour trip.
We have had fun rail trips. The first was a narrow gauge line in Portugal through the Douro Valley....not comfortable but quaint and short. The second was the high speed train from Paris down to Bordeaux. So that has helped assuage my wife's distain to rail travel
 

visiguru

New in Town
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5
I found a picture like this. True, there used to be service, and air travel was exquisite. The most exciting thing is that such sumptuous meals weren't just the privilege of first-class. Good food was served to all passengers without exception. One of the reasons for such service was that not everyone could afford a plane ticket. It's a good thing there are now low-cost airlines where the flight is much cheaper. And it's possible to fly to such places https://www.montaregio.de/de/. I agree people lack elegance these days, but there are more options.
 

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tonyb

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9,971
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My mother's basement
Returned a few hours ago from a 3,200 mile, week-long journey by motorcar (in the parlance of the Era) from the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies to the sodden shores of Puget Sound and back again, to participate in a proper send-off to one of our own, who shuffled off a couple months back.

A day and a half on the road each way. Wide-open spaces aplenty along either of the more-traveled routes (took one of those routes there and the other one back).

I’m glad I went, and I’m glad it’s behind me. The short days of December had us covering most of those miles at night, which of course renders a scenic drive considerably less so.

Romantic? Yes, in its way. Glad the weather cooperated. It’s not unusual for those highways to be be shut down entirely during the winter, what with the heavy snows and all (roadway elevations exceed 8,000 feet in places). It’s the stuff of a Louis L’Amour story.
 
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belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
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8,720
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vancouver, canada
I found a picture like this. True, there used to be service, and air travel was exquisite. The most exciting thing is that such sumptuous meals weren't just the privilege of first-class. Good food was served to all passengers without exception. One of the reasons for such service was that not everyone could afford a plane ticket. It's a good thing there are now low-cost airlines where the flight is much cheaper. And it's possible to fly to such places https://www.montaregio.de/de/. I agree people lack elegance these days, but there are more options.

I think I caught the front edge (as most baby boomers did of many things) of the age of mass travel. I flew to Europe in 1968 on what was called then..."charter flights". Regularly scheduled flights to Europe were largely only in the realm of the well off. But the concept of an affinity group chartering a plane lowered the cost considerably and brought it into the realm of me, a poor student. If I recall it still cost me $400 which was, at a dollar an hour from my dish washing job, almost 3 months wages but still much cheaper than a scheduled flight AND once there Europe back then was very cheap. I remember beers for ten cents in Spain and 1/2 a roasted chicken and chips w/ Coke for a buck.

But the flight itself was akin to an airborne Greyhound bus except they still had 'stewardesses' handing out cigarettes, blankets, pillows and smiles.
 

tonyb

I'll Lock Up
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9,971
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My mother's basement
^^^^^
Most of us here are of sufficient seniority to remember when air travel was a BFD, the province of the well-heeled. The rest of us traveled by air only under extreme circumstances, and got duded-up for the occasion — coat and tie and shined-up shoes.

“Airbus” is a fitting name for that major commercial aircraft manufacturer. These days it’s not uncommon to see air travelers in sweatshirts. That’s fine by me.
 

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