June 23rd, 2010

The Chocolate Train

Trains have always fascinated many. Runaway cabooses, passenger cars filled with drowsy diners, or boxcars brimming with wild hobos, transporting all far off to fragrant destinations. Yes, there’s something mysterious about a good train ride.

A few years ago, we took the famous Colorado Narrow Gauge Railroad excursion from Durango to Silverton-fifty-two miles of the San Juan scenic byway. The choices varied on how classed up you wanted to ride, but being the hillbillies we are, we chose the cheapest way, standard class, open air gondola seating. We didn’t want to miss an ounce of scenery and certainly weren’t disappointed with that choice. I can’t say I’ve ever seen such excitement in the eyes of my children. It seems everyone relishes a good train ride.

We hung our faces out open air windows and drank in wind and wild. The train whistle would bellow, black smoke blow, and the tracks twist and turn around yet another mountain, where aspen trees shimmered and rusty colored beavers flapped and swam under leafy forests without footprints of modern life. That day we walked away with soot on our faces but pure nature tattooed on our hearts.

To remember this trip,I bought a splendid watercolor of Durango Station, Engine 473, painted in watercolor by Russell Steel. Appropriate name, don’t you think? I had it framed and it now sits on the mantel, a memory of us, once upon a time, on a Colorado train. If you’re ever in that area, please don’t miss this exquisite experience.

Recently, I saw a program discussing The Chocolate Train. Please get me on that train! My mouth perked at the mention of chocolate, so I had to watch. Would you like a little chocolate with your train?

Switzerland is well loved for its scenery and chocolate. Throw in a train and you’ve got a first class experience called the Swiss Chocolate Train, which operates from June to October out of Montreux.

Running on the Montreux-Oberland-Bernois Railway, this train takes you on breathtaking views of the Swiss countryside, rolling through the medieval town of Gruyeres, also known for their fabulous cheese making.

In Gruyeres, the train stops for an excursion by bus to a local castle. Sound good so far? You’ll also get to experience a cheese factory. On board the train once again, you’ll head to Broc. The Nestle Chocolate factory is there. You can watch the production of chocolate and sample the goodies. Then buy all you want.

Nine hours later you arrive in Montreux, a sleepy resort town on Lac Leman and home to the Castle of Chillon.

Now how’s that for a train ride, eh? Let’s go, shall we? All aboard!


10 Responses to “The Chocolate Train”

  1. Deanna Schrayer Says:

    What a fun experience for your family Dorraine! That train ride sounds heavenly, soot and all. I’ve never been on a “real” train ride, (if you don’t count the ones at amusement parks, though one hosted a wild west show), but have always wanted to take one. How I’d love to glide through the mountains and take in the scenery I’d not otherwise be able to see.

    That picture of Switzerland is gorgeous! Yes, let’s get on that train, stuff ourselves with chocolate and raid the castle!

  2. Dorraine Says:

    I’m all for raiding the castle armed with chocolate! You lead the charge, Deanna. I hope you get to take a train ride one day. You’d would be smitten for sure.

  3. Paige Says:

    holy moly and all that’s holly! I would love to ride that train

    How long do we have to save for the trip?

  4. Dorraine Says:

    Oh, let’s give it two years for good measure. Surely we can do it by then, yes? I’ve already started saving my pennies!Better bump that up to dollars!

  5. Elizabeth Says:

    Count me in Draine! I’d love either trip :)

    We have trains in Scotland and they are nice, but none with open air windows. What beautiful memories for your children!

  6. Dorraine Says:

    You’re already in!

    Memories, yes, I’m pretty sure the girls, now that they’re grown or almost, appreciate those wonderful memories, too. We’ve been blessed with time together. :-)

  7. keiko amano Says:

    Dorraine,

    I love the painting you purchased. It’s gorgeous. And out of all the sweets, if I have to choose one, I would pick chocolate. When I’m in Japan, I’m hooked with a basic Japanese chocolate bar called Meiji chocolate. It has to be that one, not any other fancy kinds. Because it’s out of fashion, people laugh at me choosing it. Well, I don’t care. I know what I like. The smell and color give me instant comfort.

  8. Dorraine Says:

    Hi Keiko!

    Found your other comment and approved it also, but it has disappeared. Anyway, thanks so much for the well wishes on finishing the book. They are much appreciated.

    Thanks, re: painting. The picture of the painting doesn’t half capture it. Love it because it represents our spicy trip and also has the artist signature as well as the date. Whenever I look at, I remember that wonderful time we shared.

    Have never heard of Meiji chocolate, probably because I’ve never been to Japan. For me, a Hersey Bar with almonds always does the trick. We do love what we love!

  9. Paige von Says:

    Hum, hello is this blog still one?

    I said what about you?????

    come on over and find out

  10. Elizabeth Says:

    Draine,
    I’ve awarded you something nice over on my blog. :)

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Eleven-year-old Marnie Evans longs to be precious. She wishes on stars for parents who adore her, even though her family is dysfunctional. She also believes that jack rabbits and a boot-wearing Texas angel show her mysterious signs of things to come. Continue Reading


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