22nd Sep 2016
Train travel for a change!
We got up and had breakfast before loading the bags and heading over to the train station. It is tiny! It literally sees two trains a day. and grass is growing up around the tracks. Along the station platform there were local women waiting for the train to arrive, with large plates of fruits and goods to sell, balanced precariously on their heads. The trained rolled up and we jumped into our first class carriage. Now, understand me here, a first class ticket cost us $1.37 and basically meant we had the luxury of cushioned chairs, rather than wooden ones. The train rocked it’s way out of the station. The whole journey is only 85Km, and it takes the train approximately 5 hours to cover this distance so there is nothing fast about it, but it’s a fantastic way of travelling through the countryside and tiny villages, seeing daily life. Farmers and workers attending the corn and paddy fields, and an abundance of bird and bug life, a lot of which found it’s way into the train as we bushwhacked our way down the railway track.
We stopped for half an hour to have lunch along the way. My first taste of Myanmarese chicken curry, which was very tasty. I hadn’t heard great reviews of the food out here, but so far it’s all been excellent, whether we’ve found a tiny shack at the side of the road, or a more touristy restaurant.
After lunch I was struggling to keep my eyes open, and to my shame I failed miserably, mainly because I wanted to stay awake and enjoy the beautiful scenery that we were travelling through. I managed to wake up again before we crossed the Geoktepe Viaduct, which was built ver 100 years ago and at the time it was the worlds largest and tallest railway bridge. It had stunning views down into the gorge below. Shortly after crossing the viaduct we arrived at our station and hopped off the train to find Euan & Archie ready and waiting for us. We all jumped on the truck and headed to ur hotel, about another hour down the road in a small town called Pyin U Lwin. It’s a really cool little place, with bustling streets, horse and carts still in abundance, and even a cow or two crossing the road. I did wonder if I hadn’t stumbled my way back in to India by mistake?
We enjoyed a couple of hours to relax in our hotel, which is a beautiful old British Colonial hill station where generals woudl once have been based. It is still early in the tourist season so the hotel staff upgraded us to suites at no extra costs. The result being that we had a little entrance foyer with seats, leading into the bedroom, and beyond that the bathroom. The only disadvantage is that it is a little way out of town, so I organised a tuk tuk to take us back into town for dinner. We headed to the night market, where we were able to sample a variety of yummy different foods. Samosas, dhosas, hotpot style soup dishes, barbecued fish, noodles, quails eggs, meat skewers and coconut pancakes… it was really good, and all for less than four dollars. Bargain!
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