We will sing sad, Russian ballads and someone will play the balalaika.
I love trains.
When I feel the need to escape the limitations and constrains of everyday life, I imagine going on one of the great train routes.
On a frozen morning in Michigan, while driving to work, I might board the Orient Express in Paris, and single out Istanbul as my destination.
I will sit in a luxurious mahogany train car with plush, comfortable seats, and look out the window for hours on end. I will wear a large, elegant hat. I might visit the dining car for a cup of cappuccino and an almond croissant. When we pass through the old Belgrade train station, so familiar to me, the train master will shout loudly, “Beograd!” I will resist the temptation to get off.
If I feel more adventurous, I will board the Trans-Siberian in Moscow and enjoy the great Russian expense for six days and six nights, until I arrive in Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean.
I will contemplate the never ending, snowy forests, and silent, treeless steppes. My traveling companions will tell stories. We will sing sad, Russian ballads and someone will play the balalaika. At night I will be lulled to sleep in my sleeper by the gentle chugging of the locomotive.
If my need for sun and warmth overtakes other considerations, I might decide on a whim to take the Indian Pacific and explore the Australian wilderness. For three days, on my ride between Sydney and Perth, I will sit in a sunny spot by the window and observe the arid, red sandstone desert landscape, the lush gorges of the Blue Mountains, the abandoned, petrified ghost towns.
And just before we reach Perth, one of the most isolated cities in the world, I would be arriving at work.
A new day has started. Train travel will have to wait until tomorrow.