Sorry for the delay.  The team of Bepko and Bepko are about 2-weeks behind in our posts; partially because of WiFi issues, but mainly because we’ve been too busy traveling the friggin’ world!  Expect a deluge of posts over the next few days…

DAY 61:  So… after three nights in Sun City, South Africa,  and a night at the InterContinental Sandton Towers, we were ready for our overnight train ride to Cape Town.

Why an overnight train ride you may ask?  Good question.  I remember reading about the Blue Train which is a luxury train ride across South Africa.  It was a little pricey, but the Premier Class train fit nicely into our RTW budget.  Offering a shout-out (and link) to the creator of the website Seat 61 for posting all the information on this train ride.  It’s a pretty cool website describing train travel in various locations – and we are using it to plan our train travels around SE Asia.

We though a train ride might give us a little time to relax, avoid another day at the airport (and all the tight packing skills required), and also allow us to see a little bit more of the countryside.  Plus, I’ve (Stephen) always wanted to sleep on a train.  Instead of traveling Europe by train after college, my friends and I rented a car and drove across the continent… so I never got the opportunity to experience train traveling.

We were a little worried about the Johannesburg train station thanks to internet websites… but everything went quite smoothly.  It was one of those things where one wants to be prepared for everything and anything on travels, but ends up spooking oneself over something that isn’t a big deal.  Unfortunately, this has occurred a few times during our travel planning – especially when kiddos are involved in the equation.

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A busy Johannesburg train station

We were able to go right to the Premier Class check-in, drop off our baggage, and wait for the train.

We waited in a small waiting room with all the other travelers, most of which appeared to be visitors to South Africa like us.  Both E & S were tired from the early (read 7AM) wake-up this morning, but they were quite excited for this new type of adventure.

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And we had our version of the Golden Ticket!

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Finally… it was time to board for our train ride to Hogwarts Cape Town.

The living compartments were a little smaller than I expected, but I was just happy to have the train pulling out of the station.  Love the click-click-click sound the train made along the tracks.  S and I would be sharing a room, and Jeni and E would be right next door.

Then it was off to the dining car for a welcome drink and refreshments!

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It was quite nice to have some down time as the train traveling through the South African countryside.  The distance from Johannesburg to Cape Town is 780 miles.  It may seem like a great distance, but to put it into Texas perspective… the distance from Orange, Texas to El Paso (also in Texas) is 858 miles.

 

Much of scenery was reminiscent of West Texas and New Mexico for the first part of the journey…

…but as we got closer to Cape Town the following day, we started passing through wine country and the scenery looked more like Napa Valley.  It was quite beautiful!

Once dinner was over, the Bepkos headed over the the lounge car for a few rounds of Machi Koro and Pandemic.

Next it was time for showers and bedtime.  While we were at dinner, the attendant came by to get the compartment ready for sleeping.  I just love sleeping in a twin bed – reminded me of my deployment days!

To be honest… it was quite hard for 75% of the Bepkos to sleep on the train.  Although Kiddo went right to sleep, the rest of up took some time getting used to all the noise.  Additionally, the train made frequent stops along the journey.  Some of the stops were for resupplying the train, but others were likely due to traffic on the rail line ahead.

The second day was more of the same, and we were all ready to get off the train long before we were told of a 90 minute delay in getting into the Cape Town train station.  Oh well.  More time for reading.

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Eventually Table Mountain – the iconic structure towering over Cape Town – came into view and we knew we were getting close to the end of our journey.

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Table Mountain in the distance

By the end of the train journey we were glad we had done it, but I think it would be awhile before the Bepkos signed up for a long train ride again!

Now, we had eight nights at an apartment in Cape Town.  More to come (hopefully quite soon before we hit the plains of the Serengeti and almost certainly have decreased WiFi capaibilty).

TOTAL MILES TRAVELED TO DATE: 15,951 miles