The Holiday Express Train Ride Experience
We sent our contributor, Shelley Ferreira to experience a train trip with The Holiday Express to the Shongweni Market!
My best memory of travelling on a train was when I took a trip from Durban to Cape Town with my family when I was just 11 years old. I remember being so excited, running from carriage to carriage with friends I had made on board. There was just something about trains that made the experience super exciting!
So you can imagine how ecstatic I was when being given the opportunity to catch The Holiday Express train to the Shongweni Market! I had also never been to the market, too – which I have no idea why!
Arriving at the Durban Station, we mingled a bit and relaxed with a good cup of coffee before we were told it was time to board the train. We picked our seats and got ready for the trip to begin. I was surprised at how comfy the chairs on the train were with proper recline seats!
As the train left, I immediately ran to the window to snap pictures like an excited little kid. I kept pointing to Nick everytime I saw something interesting!
When we arrived at Shongweni Station, we were transferred to the market via a bus. I was impressed with the size of the Shongweni Market, with so many stalls, a huge selection of food, decor and clothes. I was in pure heaven! I also noticed that a lot of people had brought their furballs with them, which made me think to take my little chihuahua with me next time.
We grabbed a bite to eat the market and walked around. Before we knew it, It was time to head back to the bus for our transfer back to the train. I was sad to be heading back home, but also couldn’t wait for the ride which was the most exciting part of the whole experience!
All in all, the train itself was an incredibly epic adventure! There’s even a bar on board, with snacks and beverages available. I’m so looking forward to the next one with The Holiday Express, that’s for sure!
We sent our second contributor, Candice Buckle to review the trip to Scottburgh on a Sunday morning. Here’s what she had to say:
On Sunday, mom and I went for our first travel adventure together, taking the Holiday Express train and heading south to Scottburgh. There’s nothing quite like hanging out with your mother. She’s basically you, just older and wiser and with a larger collection of stories.
As we boarded the train, parked in the eerie, speckled station, we were greeted by friendly staff who made the entire journey that much more pleasant. They made jokes, offered to relieve us of the burden of taking selfies, and showed us the way to hot chocolate and other decadent snacks. Against a background of jiving music, my mother and I sang along as we set off for our journey.
I listened the whole way there as my mom told me about her childhood, most of which took place in the areas we were passing. I also learnt that my great, great, great grandfather was the station master at Montclair station, which I thought was pretty cool. Although mom didn’t have a lot herself, she would hide her clothes from her less well-off friends when they came to visit, so they wouldn’t feel inadequate.
She told me how her best friend and her 5 siblings all drove around in a beat up Kombi, its floor devoured by rust so you could see the road beneath your feet as you drove. She thought car trips with them were such fun. I think my mother may be one of the most fascinating human beings on this planet because of the little details she finds fascinating herself. She’s also incredibly humble and of course, somewhat hilarious.
On route, we were reminded of just how destitute some parts of our country are. Not that we ever forgot, but sometimes it takes seeing it in person for it to hit home, us two now Umhlanga residents. We saw piles of colourful litter towering towards the sky, complementing the graffiti splattered on the walls. We saw people taking shelter under tents and plastic bags. It was both humbling and sad.
As we neared off to Scottburgh, the sand and seas stretched out on the left of us and we were amazed at the natural, untouched beauty of our coastline.
When we arrived, we decided to head straight for the beach. It was an overcast, breezy day, but I’ve always liked this weather for everything feels open and honest, with no guise-like sun to obscure the view. We ate seafood at John Dory’s, and then sat on the rocky shore and looked pensively into the ocean. We then hiked up the hill to the Blue Marlin hotel where we slurped on milk shakes before boarding the train once more.
The Holiday Express is an ideal family trip – whether it’s just you and your mom, or the whole family. It’s also perfect for couples looking for an unique date activity!
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