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15 Most Scenic Train Routes On Earth You Must Visit

15 Most Scenic Train Routes On Earth You Must Visit

Despite being a technology that is well over 150 years old, trains are still an important mode of transportation in many countries around the world. They’re a great and cheap way to cover a long distance if you don’t mind spending a little more time traveling than you would an airplane. It also happens to be one of the best ways to travel if you like sightseeing. Here are 15 of the world’s most scenic train routes.

1. The Flåm Railway, Norway

scenic train route

    We’ll start out with a relatively short route. The Flåm Railway is only about 55 minutes long but it really is among the most beautiful you’ll ever seen. It rides down into Flåm Valley. Passengers can expect lush green landscapes, Nordic farmhouses, waterfalls, ravines, and gigantic mountain ranges. It’s about as much as you can conceivably squeeze into an hour long train ride. It’s also among the cheapest at $60USD.

    2. Canadian Rockies Railway, Canada

    scenic train route

      Canada is home to some of the harshest environments in North America but they also happen to be among the most enjoyable to look at. For the price of a used car ($1879CAN to $8200CAN), you can take a 7-day trip from Vancouver to Toronto and see the best landscapes that Canada has to offer. Accommodations include a heated seat on a luxury railroad, a great view of Jasper (Canada’s largest national park), Yoho National Park, and the Columbian ice fields. There are few better ways to experience Canada without going to a hockey game.

      3. Trans Siberian Railroad, Russia

      scenic train route

        There is no better way to travel through Russia than the Trans Siberian Railroad. It’s 6000 miles long and can take passengers a long time to ride from end to end. In that time you’ll get to experience pretty much all of the landscapes of northern Asia because the railroad doesn’t just go through Russia but also through parts of China and Mongolia. It’s a very popular railroad with some of the most truly breathtaking views. First class will cost you a couple of thousand dollars but if you don’t mind mixing it up with the locals, you can ride for cheaper.

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        4. Glacier Express, Switzerland

        scenic train route

          All you need to do is look at the picture to see the reason why this train is included on this list. During the train’s 7-hour ride, you’ll becoming intimately familiar with the iconic Alps as this train passes through 91 tunnels and 291 bridges as it twists and turns through the mountains. It’s a one of a kind experience. Again, all you need to do is look at the picture.

          5. Cusco to Machu Picchu, Peru

          scenic train route

            You may know Machu Picchu as the site of the Inca Ruins and the train ride there can be spectacular. There are actually a number of railways that make this journey. They range from cheap and functional to expensive and luxurious. It doesn’t really matter which one you take because you get the scenery either way. You’ll see the Urumbamba River, vast fields filled with animal life, and it all is the foreground to a wondrous mountain range in the background. Of course, there are the Inca Ruins too which are breathtaking all on their own.

            6. The Royal Scotsman, Scotland

            scenic train route

              Much like the Canadian Rockies Railroad above, this one will cost you approximately on arm and one leg. You can pay an average of $2000USD per day to enjoy the Royal Scotsman but it’s well worth it. You get food prepared by world class chefs, classic experiences like whiskey tasting and salmon fishing, and of course you’ll get to enjoy the raw Scottish landscape. You really will get to see all there is to see in Scotland in terms of environment including beaches, hamlets, glens, mountains, and valleys. It’s a veritable slideshow of beauty and truly one of the most unforgettable experiences you can have on wheels.

              7. The Palace on Wheels, India

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              scenic train route

                India has a famous reputation for their trains being a little brutal to ride but there are some there that can be an experience unlike any other. One such train is The Palace on Wheels which will take you through the desert to the Taj Mahal with stops at the lake palace of Udaipar and Jaisalmer where you can ride camels on a desert safari if you want. It costs a pretty penny at around $2000USD for basic packages but there are few better ways to experience the wonder of the Indian landscape.

                8. The Blue Train, South Africa

                scenic train route

                  Africa is known for its endless wilderness, vast deserts, and dangerous wildlife. You could always go on a safari and brave the elements or you could sell your car and take The Blue Train. Its cheapest package is $2000 but you’ll be treated to marble floors, butlers, and the unimaginably scenery that only Africa can provide. You’ll see wildlife, mountains, plains, and pretty much all the other best parts of Africa. It’s pricey but definitely worth it.

                  9. The Coastal Classic Train, Alaska

                  scenic train route

                    As the name suggests, The Coastal Classic Train features a most classic view of the Alaskan wilderness along with its craggy mountain peaks, ice blue waters, and if you go during the right time of year, its vibrant green landscapes. You’ll also see a glacier and if you’re lucky you may see some wildlife such as the beluga whale. It’s only a four hour trip but we’ve no doubt you can grab a thousand pictures anyway.

                    10. The Ghan, Australia

                    scenic train route

                      There is no better way to enjoy the wonders of Australia than The Ghan. It runs from the south of the continent to the north so you’ll transverse the entire continent in just a couple of days. During your trip you’ll see the legendary Australian outback including the Katherine Gorge, Flinders ranges, Alice Springs, and of course hundreds of miles of untamed Australian wilderness. It’s a tad expensive at $1420AUS but that’s not bad for what you get to see.

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                      11. The Sky Train, Tibet

                      scenic train route

                        This train gets its name from the fact that it spends most of its journey over 4000 miles above sea level. It’s one of the cheaper trains on the list with the average price being around $185USD but don’t let the price fool you. You’ll be riding at the top of the mountains where you can see the vast landscapes around you not to mention you’ll be among the snow capped mountain peaks. This is often called the ceiling of the sky train.

                        12. Talyllyn Railway, Wales

                        scenic train route

                          Many of these trains are huge, mammoth trains that trek hundreds or thousands of miles. The Talyllyn Railway has a measly 14.5 mile track but don’t let that fool you. It runs through Fathew Valley which is a small grassy paradise in Wales. While the scenery is fantastic, this is one instance where the train itself is also pretty iconic. It was the train that inspired Thomas the Tank Engine. It’s staffed by volunteers and it’s really a quaint little trip to take.

                          13. The Grand Canyon Railway, Arizona

                          scenic train route

                            Have you ever wanted to see the Grand Canyon but the prospect of riding down in a donkey not your cup of tea? Why not try the Grand Canyon Railway. It runs through 130 miles (round trip) of the harsh and wondrous Arizona desert and eventually ends up at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. If you’re down for the rugged Arizona landscape followed up by one of the natural wonders of the world, then this is the railway to take.

                            14. Douro Line, Portugal

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                            scenic train route

                              If you want to enjoy the historic landscapes of Portugal along with its amazing Douro River then this is the way to do it. The trip crosses 30 bridges and passes under 26 tunnels as it winds its way around the Douro River from Porto to Pocinho. Along the way you’ll find picturesque views of the river valley and it’ll even make stops as old style train stations so you can check those out too. It’s best to ride between early spring and late summer when the almond trees are in bloom. It’s downright heavenly.

                              15. Rhine Valley Line, Germany

                              scenic train route

                                Our last scenic train route is one of the best if you’re a fan of old school architecture. On the Rhine Valley Line you’ll see Germanic castles from centuries ago and almost perfect towns and villages that seem to bring the past to life. What’s even better is that no matter which point you start or end at, there are even more towns, villages, and castles for you to visit. If you go all out and get the Eurail Pass, you can switch from trains to riverboats that are also operated by the Rhine Line.

                                 

                                If you’re a fan of unforgettable landscapes, then trains are still the best way to travel. If you can, make sure you make it to at least one of these scenic train route destinations so you can experience it first hand. Don’t forget to bring the camera!

                                Featured photo credit: Digital Spy via i1.cdnds.net

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                                Published on November 14, 2018

                                Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                Symptoms of Fatigue

                                Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                • mental blocks
                                • lack of motivation
                                • headache
                                • dizziness
                                • muscle weakness
                                • slowed reflexes and responses
                                • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                • moodiness, such as irritability
                                • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                • reduced immune system function
                                • blurry vision
                                • short-term memory problems
                                • poor concentration
                                • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                Causes of Fatigue

                                The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                Anemia

                                Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                                This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                Diabetes

                                Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                Sleep Apnea

                                Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                Thyroid disease

                                An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                • Lack of sleep
                                • Too much sleep 
                                • Alcohol and drugs 
                                • Sleep disturbances 
                                • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                • Poor diet 

                                Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                1. Tell The Truth

                                Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                • How you feel
                                • What time of day it is
                                • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                • How your mind and body reacts

                                This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                                If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                4. Express More Gratitude

                                Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                5. Focus On Yourself

                                Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                                Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                7. Take a Power Nap

                                When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                8. Take More Exercise

                                The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                10. Improve Your Diet

                                Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                                To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                12. Get Hydrated

                                Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                The Bottom Line

                                These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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