There are many reasons I love my job. Not only do I work with a great bunch of people (despite being harassed daily for my now very overdue blog ;0)) but having been at Ethos for 12 years a lot of our clients and colleagues I now think of as friends or extended family.
Plus we have the opportunity to travel and do amazing things that others can only aspire to.
“Travel brat” that I am – I am very lucky to have travelled on The Blue Train three times! And each time it has exceeded my every expectation.
On my first trip, now 12 years ago, I was completely blown away by the sheer luxury of it – and the novelty of having your own ensuite bathroom and butler. And the food?! Food, Glorious Food! My Dad and I spent many happy hours in the observation car admiring the scenery while nibbling on biltong!
On my second trip I was quite heavily pregnant and was amazed at how comfortable my double bed was after a lovely soak in my bubble bath! Funnily enough it came complete with complimentary audience as we stopped at a station platform midway!
On my third trip I now knew better than to leave the bathroom blinds open whilst showering! This particular trip was back in October as part of a press trip I was hosting and was definitely a lot of fun – especially as this time I could join the ladies for an Amarula Don Pedro (a must if you visit SA) and a few glasses of bubbly!
The food was better than ever – freshly prepared by Esther and her team in the narrow kitchen on-board – and it was lovely to recognise the butlers … some of whom have been on the train more than 20 years!
What impressed me most on this trip were the staff – The Blue Train family of whom I consider myself a small part thereof.
We had some unfortunate technical problems with the locomotive overheating and actually catching on fire in the end.
As concerned as we were that the actual train might catch fire, it was quite an adventure to look back on and I can only praise the staff for their sheer professionalism. The butlers helped everyone off the train and then proceeded to hand out flutes of champagne in beautiful cut glass while others packed up their luggage – just in case.
I saw someone’s freshly pressed dinner jacket hanging neatly on a railway pylon so as not to get creased before dinner thanks to a particularly thoughtful butler – an odd sight alongside a track in the dusty Karoo. Some guests gathered in the club car at the rear to continue festivities while the engineers and emergency crew tackled the fire.
Once the train was pulled a safe distance away from the loco we all climbed back on board and no jokes – about 20 minutes later Esther and her team served up a gourmet five-course meal! I was speechless!
Although we were not proceeding on the track as planned our experience was largely the same. We showered, met for pre-dinner drinks and enjoyed a delicious dinner dressed up in our finest party dresses. The atmosphere was quite festive having all shared a bit of excitement. I only heard one couple complaining that their cabin was smoky and they were moved to a different suite (although others with suites even closer to the front had no such complaints). There’s always one ;0)
It was disappointing not to have made it all the way to Pretoria but we still got to enjoy all the meals, the excursion in Matjiesfontein and a good night’s sleep in our beautiful suites.
The Blue Train ensured we met our international flight the next day by paying for our flights from Cape Town to Johannesburg – plus offered each and every guest the choice of a full refund or to travel again free of charge on another occasion which I thought was very generous considering we’d just spent 27 hours in sublime luxury eating and drinking to our hearts’ content.
I was very relieved that my beloved train escaped unscathed and eagerly anticipate my next journey – hopefully down to Durban this time for Indaba!