New Zealand’s TranzAlpine Express is reputed to be one of the world’s greatest train rides, crossing beech forests, alpine tussock, glacial rivers, peaceful lakes, and the snow-capped Southern Alps on its 223.8 kilometer (134 mile) journey between Greymouth on the west coast and Christchurch on the east coast. Although I made few advance reservations for my six month sojourn, the TranzAlpine Express was an exception – I have had my ticket for nearly three months because everything I read warned that the seats sell out quickly, thus the schedule for my travel around New Zealand has revolved around making this train on May 30th.
The bus from Franz Josef deposited me at the steps of the Greymouth rail station 30 minutes before the 1:45 PM boarding time. I had just enough time to check in, get my seat assignment, hand over my luggage, and buy some snacks before our departure. Right on time, the big yellow diesel locomotive rolled into the station and stopped with a screech. I was in the ‘L’ car, far behind the locomotive, sandwiched between the observation deck and the dining car. My friend, Leah, recently told me she would like to see more of ‘me’ in my photos, so I asked a fellow passenger to take a photo of me as I boarded the train. I settled into my “airline style reclining seat,” prepared to see stunning scenery from my panoramic window, and snapped Continue reading