Trainholidaysfriendstravel’s Weblog

June 6, 2020

#AmazingRailVacations #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCa90069 #JessKalinowsky

1. The Flåm Railway, Norway

Spectacular view from the famous Norwegian Flåm train speeding uphill on its way to Myrdal station. Said to be one of the most beautiful railway journeys on the planet.

Widely considered to be one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world, this 12-mile route takes you from the end of #Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of the #Sognefjord, up to the high mountains at #Myrdal station. Along the way, you will pass waterfalls, deep ravines, snow-capped mountains, and high-altitude farms, all while watching the weather shift from sun to rain.  #Flåm Railway, #Norway

2. Geibi Line to Fukuen Line, Japan

You can get a taste of the #Japanese countryside as you travel  from #Hiroshima Station to #Fuchū Station on the #Geibi Line turned #Fukuen Line. The route passes through the mountainous area of the #Chūgoku region, so expect to see stunning bridges and long, dark tunnels cutting through mountains. THINK #SkiNagano 1998 Olympics

3. Bernina Railway, Switzerland to Italy

The trip starts in #StMoritz, #Switzerland on a perfectly sunny day and ends in #Tirano, #Italy via the high-mountain #Bernina Pass. Sit back with an #Italian-style #caffè and watch as the train cuts through picturesque villages and rumbles alongside dizzying cliffs and sparkling blue waters. Along the way, you’ll break a few records — albeit : It is the highest railway alpine crossing in Europe and the highest adhesion railway on the continent. Not bad for a full experience. Think: #SkiItaly and #SkiSwitzerland #JessKalinowsky

Swiss Red Train Bernina Express pass on Brusio Viaduct. It is a spectacular helicoidal stone bridge that fits the surrounding landscape and is located on the Bernina railway not far from Brusio railway station in Canton Grisons, Italy.

4. Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Colorado, United States

If you’ve ever dreamed of making it to the top of Colorado’s Pikes Peak, which sits 14,115 feet above sea level, here’s your chance. Hop aboard North America’s highest train and join this fast-motion tour. The trip starts at the station in #Manitou #Springs and climbs the well-known peak in a matter of minutes, allowing the viewer to sit back and enjoy the dizzying ride.

5. Belgrade–Bar Railway, Montenegro

You’ll start your journey in the town of #Bar, near the #Adriatic Sea, before passing through the line’s longest tunnel (20,246 feet) and over the highest railway bridge in Europe. After zipping through the country’s impressive mountainous region, end the trip in the town of #Bijelo Polje102 tunnels and 96 bridges later.

6. North Wales Coast Line, England to Wales

Travel along the beautiful #Wales coast aboard a #British Rail Class 175, a type of diesel passenger train used in the #United Kingdom. The excursion kicks off in the city of #Chester, England and quickly travels over the border into Wales, passing through lush countryside before hitting the coast and continuing west.

7. Nordland Line, Norway

The adventure starts on the #Trondheim Fjord in Trondheim and only seems to get snowier as you head farther north. Eventually, you virtually pass into the #Arctic Circle before ending in the municipality of #Fauske. If cold and snow don’t sound appealing, you can experience the trip in one of the other three seasons! But winter is memorably mesmerizing!

8. Ferrocarril Central Andino, Peru

The Central Andean Railroad in Peru

Often considered to be one of the world’s most scenic railroads, the #Ferrocarril Central Andino links the #Pacific port of Callao and the capital city of #Lima with #Huancayo and Cerro de Pasco. This four-part journey begins in #Chosica and ends near the #Galera railway station in the #Andes. In part one, you’ll traverse the massive #Puente Carrión bridge; part two climbs from #Matucana to #San Mateo, one of the most scenic parts of the line; part three takes travelers over the #Puente Infiernillo bridge, which passes through a tight canyon with high rock walls on either side; and finally, part four lets you travel virtually through one of the world’s highest railroad tunnels.

9. 7 Express Line, New York, United States

7 Line Subway train in Queens with Manhattan skyline, New York City

If you find yourself strangely missing the familiar sounds of your commute, this cab-view video of the New York City subway will scratch the itch. The 7 Express Line (#Flushing Express) travels from #Queens to #Manhattan, providing outside and underground views along the way. And if you’re into trains, keep in mind that this footage was shot on one of the line’s R62A trains, which have since been returned to the 6 train. #NewYorkCIty is truly an amazing destination!

10. Sarajevo–Ploče Railway, Bosnia and Herzegovina

You can explore the #Balkan country of #Bosnia and #Herzegovina by train, thanks to this cab-view. Starting in #Čapljina, you’ll dip into #Croatia quickly before crossing the border back into Bosnia and Herzegovina and ending your trip in the country’s capital, #Sarajevo. Home of the #XIV #Olympic Winter #Games, 1984. A good portion of the journey follows the #Neretva River and passes through tight, mountainous terrain and over the #Bradina Pass. Think #Sarajevo for skiing!

11. South Western Railway, England

You’ll start your  journey on the #London #Underground at #London #Waterloo station and then head west, eventually dropping south toward #Southampton and ending at Southampton Central station. Along the way, you’ll see the London skyline before moving into the vibrant, green countryside.

12. Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Colorado, United States

The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Steam Engine travels along Animas River, Colorado

This historic line takes travelers from one mountain town to another, traveling over a high-alpine mountain pass to get there. This three-part tour offers guests a  ride on the three-foot-wide narrow-gauge heritage railroad as it traverses over 45 miles between #Durango and #Silverton. During part one, enjoy the breathtaking journey along a narrow ledge cut into a sheer cliff face far above the #Animas River; in part two, the train chugs high up into the Colorado mountains; and in part three, it heads down the mountain pass into the Wild West town of Silverton.

13. Wengernalp Railway, Switzerland

Enjoy a perfectly clear driver’s-eye view of the stunning route from #Lauterbrunnen to #Kleine Scheidegg. You’ll cross pretty #Swiss villages and tree-covered slopes as you climb up into the mountains, eventually passing views of snow-covered mountains and deep valleys. THINK : #SkiSwitzerland! #JessKalinowsky

#Jungfrau Railway train station at #Wengernalp, #Swiss Alps, #Canton #Bern, #Switzerland

I lived in #Germany for six years, with my Uncle Sam, and became intimately familiar with #European Rail Travel. I have been fortunate to have ridden the Orient Express several times. THINK: #EuropeSkiTrips #SkiItaly #SkiSwitzerland #SkiSarajevo #JessKalinowsky

April 13, 2020

#CanadaViaRailVacations #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCa90069 #JessKalinowsky

#CanadaViaRailVacations #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCa90069

EMAIL #JessKalinowsky

From the Pacific shores of downtown Vancouver to the Atlantic lighthouses of Halifax, VIA Rail provides coast to coast, long and short haul rail service to Canada’s busiest centers and most beautiful regions. Short-haul services connecting Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City offers leisure and business travelers alike, fast and efficient service between some of Canada’s largest cities. On board services in economy and business class complete a set of offerings to match any budget and desired comfort level. Long-haul trains connecting Halifax & Montreal and Toronto & Vancouver reflect the system’s longer routes with economy seating or sleeper compartments complete with freshly prepared meals, domed lounge cars and on board entertainment.  #ViaRailCanada 24|7|365 

Canada ViaRail

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 Passenger train along Moose Lake in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Passenger train along #Moose Lake in #Jasper National Park, #Alberta, Canada.     EMAIL #JessKalinowsky 24|7|365


March 20, 2020

#EuropeTrainTrips #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCa90069 #JessKalinowsky

Train Trips in Europe:

Train travel in the Old World maintains a certain mystique for many travelers, and it’s little wonder: With incredible amounts of culture, 47 countries packed into a region slightly larger than the U.S., and exhaustive tracks that go everywhere from the plains of #Spain to the eastern fringes of #Russia, #Europe is tailor-made for riding the rails. Our favorite train trips in Europe encompass quintessential experiences, like tucking into multi-course dinners aboard an intimate dining car in #Scotland, but we’ve also folded in modern options, like bedding down in one of the tricked-out private carriages of the #TransSiberian Express, or the #Orient Express, or The #Royal Scotsman. Beyond Glorious!

London to Disneyland Paris on Eurostar Disney

Journeying from #London to #Paris on the #Eurostar fuels childlike curiosity in its own right– after all, the tracks are mind-bogglingly submerged in an #English Channel tunnel – but combining that iconic international route with a visit to Paris Disneyland amps up the wonderment quotient even more. The direct Eurostar Disney line zips from #London’s city center to the #Disneyland Paris gates in a little more than 2.5 hours  [park entrance fees are separate], but the party starts before the train whistle even blows at #StPancras Station, where a live jazz band sends off travelers. En route, the littlest riders can occupy themselves with complimentary Disney-themed activity packs before disembarking at Marne la Vallée (the station’s within walking distance to the park gates) and running into the arms of the Disney characters who welcome guests to the park each morning. At less than three hours each way, this top train trip in Europe is a manageable day trip from London (trains depart from St. Pancras at 9am and leave Disney at 7:30pm, except for Tuesdays and Saturdays when UK schools are in session), but we suggest coupling with a stay in Paris, as the city’s iconic architecture, world-class museums, and culinary delights are only about 40 minutes away from the park via RER, Paris’s regional train system – you then have the option to catch the standard #Eurostar route back to #London from #Paris. 24/7/365

Best Scenic Train Trip

Switzerland on the William Tell Express

Take in a bevy of #Swiss natural wonders aboard the #William Tell Express, a nearly 5-hour boat-train combo trip that links three of the compact nation’s most storied regions: #Lake Lucerne, the #Bernese Oberland (famed for its winter sports), THINK #SkiSwitzerland and #Ticino (the country’s Italian-speaking region). The voyage begins with a 3-hour cruise of Lake Lucerne, a scenic sliver of central Switzerland that showcases the region’s pastoral mountains and the lake’s bright blue waters. Upgrade to the first-class fare available May through mid-October; to dig into a leisurely gourmet lunch on the boat ride before settling down in panoramic train cars. As the carriages chug south toward the #Italian border, marvel at the postcard-perfect views of the #Reuss Valley and the soaring, snowcapped peaks of the imposing #Gotthard Range. The top train trip in Europe’s last leg zips through the historic #StGotthard Tunnel – a 9-mile passageway that was the world’s longest train tunnel upon its inauguration in 1882 – before disembarking in the #Italian-flavored #Bellinzona, where you can opt to switch trains and journey on to #Lugano or #Locarno, close to #Switzerland’s border with #Italy

Best Off-the-Path Train Trip Itinerary

Russia on The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

After years, #Siberia welcomed #Russia’s first elite train trip in May 2007. Although not an exclusively #European itinerary (the line crosses the #Asian border at #Ekaterinburg four days into the voyage), the #TransSiberian Express earns a spot on our list of top train trips in Europe for its daring foray into some of Russia’s most remote and otherworldly landscapes. Holding the title as the world’s longest single-service train (at 5,753 miles), it glides from #Moscow, through the surprisingly beautiful #Siberian tundra, and skims the border of #China to arrive at #Eurasia’s #Pacific coast in #Vladivostok, in 15 days. In that time, passengers soak up the benefits of their fare; departures available May through September) which entitles them to private carriages, technologically tricked out with plasma-screen TVs and DVD/CD players; en suite bathrooms with showers and under-floor heating; and dining delicacies like #Borscht, #caviar. At these rates, you would expect meals to be bundled in and they are, as are alcoholic beverages (including, naturally, vodka), all gratuities, English-speaking guides, and a 24-hour on-call doctor! 

Best Classic Train Trip Itinerary

Venice to Paris on Orient-Express

The Orient-Express – which most famously wound from London to Istanbul – reached legendary status as much for its colorful cast of passengers as for the opulent form of train travel that Belgian creator George Nagelmackers ushered in when he christened the first locomotive in 1883. The original line operated in some form until 1977, but its heyday was in the ’20s and ’30s, when the golden age of train travel in Europe drew kings, spies, and courtesans aboard for indulgent dinners, fine wines, and effortless border crossings. Today, passengers can revel in that history on the modern iteration of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (launched by James B. Sherwood in 1982), set aboard a series of vintage carriages that restores the route to its original lavishness. The signature Venice to Paris voyage,  requires one full day and night (with arrival in Paris the following morning; operates November through March), but passengers are rewarded with onboard luxuries like afternoon tea served directly in the cabin; a black tie-optional, four-course dinner prepared by French chefs in one of three restaurant cars; and ever-changing vistas of the Italian Dolomites and Swiss Alps [Think Agatha Christie!]. I have a great story about my Honeymoon on the Orient Express [a few year ago, wink wink]. From the George V in Paris to the Eden in Rome, with a stop in Venice at the Danieli, followed by a two week Mediterranean – Aegean yacht cruise, ending up in Barcelona.

One meets some really wonderful people traveling like this! 24/7/365

Best Old-World Style Cars

Great Britain on the Royal Scotsman

Sumptuous accommodations and lavish living await passengers aboard the Royal Scotsman, a nine-car luxury train that epitomizes glamorous, old-world-style rail travel. Choose from seven itineraries; various departures available May through September) that crisscross Scotland, Wales, and England, and prepare for a decidedly intimate experience. The train’s 20 cabins — equipped with private bathrooms, full-length wardrobes, and feather duvets — sleep only 36 passengers, all of whom have access to the train’s on-call cabin attendants and standout observation room, complete with plush armchairs and an outdoor verandah. Formal dinners are not to be missed, as travelers outfit themselves in cocktail dresses, tuxedos, and tartans before indulging in locally sourced meals prepared by head chef, who cut his teeth cooking in London’s Michelin-starred L’Escargot. The #Edwardian décor (think rich marquetry, deep-mahogany paneling, and boldly patterned linens) and gold-star service is perhaps only outdone by the passing countryside, as this top train trip in Europe rolls over stone bridges, past crumbling castles, and through pink heather glens into the heart of the Highlands. My experience was from #London to The Balmoral Hotel 1 Princes Street Edinburgh. One word: Glorious!  #JessKalinowsky


Another great UK train trip is from #London, to #Cardiff, to #Llandudno with spectacular views of Snowdonia and Conwy Castle, and staying at Bodysgallen Hall. The first time I visited Bodysgallen Hall, I was super lucky and got invited to a reception, and the guest of honor was the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles. Many moons ago.  Amazing hotel!

Best Hotel-Like Train

Overnight to/from Spain on Elipsos Train-Hotel

Substituting a hotel stay with overnight travel saves valuable time and funds on tight vacation schedules, but the sacrifice is often a rocky night’s sleep in cramped spaces and little energy to explore the next day’s destination. #Spain’s Elipsos Train-Hotel lines, however, succeed in making an overnight trip on the tracks appealing, practical, and downright relaxing. The sleek trains’ premier compartments claim many of the accoutrement’s of modern hotels (en suite showers, free morning newspapers, complimentary breakfast), and all-level tickets offer cozy sleeping quarters, complimentary magazines, and access to the onboard restaurant and bar. Although the tracks cross four international borders (France, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland), we’re partial to the simplicity of the nonstop, 14.5-hour Barcelona to Milan voyage (first-class, one-way rates from $125), which departs year-round from Barcelona’s Estacio de Franca in the evening and pulls into Milan’s Centrale station just in time for the morning’s first cappuccino

Best Engineered Train Line

Norway on the The Bergen Line

Train trips in #Europe are rife with tracks that tackle rugged terrain, traverse imposing mountain passes, and complete staggering feats of engineering in general, but the #Bergen Line of Norway is quite simply one of the most impressive – and a prime example of a trip that can take you places that you might never experience otherwise. As one of Europe’s highest railways, it passes through scenic fjord inlets, and past snowcapped mountains and glaciers, on a 300-plus mile journey (much of which is above the timber line) between the culturally rich city of Bergen in western Norway and its capital at Oslo. The classic 7-hour voyage; available year-round), which celebrated its centenary in 2009, also includes stops at charming mountain towns and ski resorts, THINK #SkiNorway and exhibits many technological accomplishments en route, including passage through a spiral mountain tunnel. The smooth traction and steady velocity of the train does little to give away its constant battle against extreme temps, icy winds, and harsh snowfalls – against which a combination of skilled workers and high-tech equipment is constantly employed to outmaneuver. EMAIL #JessKalinowsky

Best Train Trip for Sweet Tooths

Swiss Alps on the Chocolate Train

Sate both sweet and savory cravings aboard the Chocolate Train, a daylong trip (available June through October) that glides through the Swiss Alps with visits to the hometowns of two of the country’s richest culinary creations. The train departs from (and returns to) #Montreux, #Switzerland, and rolls northeast to #Gruyeres, an idyllic medieval hill-town where cheese-mongers still milk Fribourg cows to churn out blocks of the eponymous cheese. A tour of #Gruyeres Castle breaks up the voyage before taking off to nearby #Broc, home to the world-famous #Cailler-Nestle factory. The new,  visitor center, which traces the history of Swiss chocolate from the Aztecs to the present, is educational, but rest assured that there is plenty of chocolate available for consumption, as well – 65 tons of chocolate are produced on-site each day. While traveling aboard this top train trip in Europe, savor the treats inside a Belle Epoque Pullman car, or feast your eyes on the surrounding countryside from a panoramic carriage, which promises unobstructed views of Lake Gruyeres, orderly vineyards, and craggy Alps

Best Coastal Train Trip

Provence and the #FrenchRiviera on TER #Méditerranée

Although the French are known for their high-speed, high-tech TGV train trips, you’ll find some of their most notable routes (and the most authentic French experiences) along their slower, regional tracks. A well-kept secret is their Mediterranean line, TER Méditerranée, which, while not particularly stunning onboard, more than makes up for it with its spectacular location, which straddles the French Riviera coastline as it rolls for 3 hours and 40 minutes from the port city of #Marseille (accessible from Paris in just 3 hours by TGV train) to #Ventimiglia, #Italy, stopping at the Riviera capital of Nice, the resort towns of #Antibes and #St. Raphael, film-famous #Cannes, and high-rolling #Monte Carlo along the way. In the summer, bundled packages cruising through the Marseille calanques and exploring the Posidonie grasslands (home to several thousand protected species) are available directly through TER, but the allure of this top train trip in Europe is making leisurely stops along the way, disembarking at quaint villages and stunning beaches at whim.

Reservations and/or  #Tickets, #RailPasses on any #EuropeRail trip: 24/7/365

Tell us who will be traveling, name[s] as it appears on the passports, full date of birth, preferred travel dates, and #VOILA! we have your tickets for you. Along with your #airline tickets, #accommodations and any sightseeing

#Discounted First Class, Business Class, and Coach  Airfares Worldwide!

#JessKalinowsky Professional Travel Consultant

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March 7, 2020

#CanadaByTrain! #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCa90069 #JessKalinowsky


See #Canada by Train! An in depth look with VIA Rail Canada. There’s no better time to visit Canada and see it by train! Canada is close and easy to get to, safe and due to a strengthened US dollar, offers more value than ever before!

VIA Rail Canada Vacations on Canada’s national passenger railway system. From the Pacific shores of downtown #Vancouver to the #Atlantic lighthouses of #Halifax, VIA Rail provides coast to coast, long and short haul rail service to Canada’s busiest centers and most beautiful regions. Short-haul services connecting #Toronto, #Ottawa, #Montréal and #Quebec City offers leisure and business travellers alike, fast and efficient service between some of Canada’s largest cities. On board services in economy and business class complete a set of offerings to match any budget and desired comfort level. Long-haul trains connecting Halifax & Montreal and Toronto & Vancouver and other remote regions of the country reflect the system’s longer routes with economy seating or sleeper compartments complete with freshly prepared meals, domed lounge cars and on-board entertainment

Give us your travel dates and we give you an amazing vacation.
Wish you were here! #SkiCanada! Plan Canada Summer Vacations early, as space sells out fast!
I know how to get you there!
Detailed itinerary available on request.
Ask about customizing your own bespoke package.
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Exciting experiences waiting Just For You!
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Ask about our value added offers!!!
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I have been to 147 countries around the world.
Please allow me to send you on an amazing trip!

#CanadaByTrain! #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCa90069 #JessKalinowsky 24|7|365



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March 10, 2011

Best of The West Train Trip JESS Kalinowsky


Journey to the splendour of the American West and The Path of Lewis & Clark.
Best of the West

13 days From $3,695 pp

Round-trip by train to Glacier National Park, Grand Teton,

Arches & Canyonlands National Parks

JESS Kalinowsky


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December 19, 2010

Follow Friends Travel on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for Daily Specials 24/7/365!/FriendsTravel

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May 5, 2009

Hit the rails for an unforgettable journey through the wide-open spaces of northern Arizona

Filed under: American West — #trainholidaysfriendstravel @ 2:20 am

Hit the rails for an unforgettable journey through the wide-open spaces of northern Arizona and up to the very edge of the Grand Canyon, where you will stay for a starry night within walking distance of the South Rim.

Wonderfully nostalgic, Grand Canyon Railways features vintage trains and western entertainment, harkening back to a golden age of travel when people enjoyed each other’s company.

Offering packages that work in conjunction with the train schedule—making for seamless entry in and out of the park—Grand Canyon Railways is a relaxing way to experience the immense grandeur of America’s greatest wonder

Canyon Limited Plus package
From $420 per adult (age 16+)
From $86 per child (age 2-15)


  • Roundtrip Coach Class train travel from Williams, AZ to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
  • Guide-narrated motorcoach rim tour of the South Rim
  • Overnight stay at the Maswik Lodge inside Grand Canyon National Park
  • Two nights at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams
  • Two breakfasts and two dinners per person at the Railway’s Grand Depot Café in Williams
  • Prices valid for travel through Oct 31, 2009

Terms and Conditions: Price is per person based on adult double occupancy and does not include tax or National Park entry fee. Valid for travel from 5/4 – 10/31/09 and subject to change. Must be booked 11 days in advance of travel. 50th Birthday Special: must travel 7 days before or after your birthday. Must present ID with proof of birth at ticket counter. Free ride valid for Coach Class travel only. Not applicable to others in party, only the person celebrating their birthday. Not valid for Polar Express. Not valid for prior bookings and groups; cannot be combined with any other offer, discount or special promotion. No cash value; no cash refunds or credits will be given.

GOOGLE Friends Travel LLP 90069 for more exciting travel opportunities.

GOOGLE JESS Kalinowsky Professional Travel Consultant

EMAIL  24/7/365

October 18, 2008

Celebrate NEW YEARS in the High Sierras

Celebrate NEW YEARS in the High Sierras
Celebrate the arrival of New Year’s in the Sierra Nevadas & arrive

 aboard  the classic streamliner train the ‘Reno Limited’!

8 Days from $1,995

P R O G R A M    F E A T U R E S    A T   A    G L A N C E

  • Fully escorted from start to finish!
  • Classic 1940’s club car travel aboard the ‘Yosemite Limited’ round-trip to Yosemite National Park complete with elegant meals, wines & spirits.
  • 4-day/3-night stay at the superb Silver Legacy Resort & Casino in the heart of downtown Reno. The best location in town.
  • A grand & elegant ‘New Years Eve’ dinner & party to welcome the New Year.
  • 4-day/3-night stay at the historic and elegant Mark
    Hopkins Hotel atop Nob Hill in San Francisco.
  • Complimentary transfers, luggage handling and more!
Without question, one of the most interesting train rides in the World is the fabled passage over the High Sierra Nevada Mountains from Sacramento to Reno over the storied ‘Overland Route’ of the Union Pacific Railroad. This engineering marvel, carved out of sheer rock by Chinese coolies was part of the original Transcontinental Railroad and is still, almost 150 years after completion, an extraordinary feat. In winter, it is a visual feast, with snowsheds, tunnels, poignant Donner Lake and scenic running along the Truckee River. Happily, this glorious train ride is only one of many superlatives on our High Sierra New Years holiday and we invite you to join us.
This is an unabashedly indulgent holiday, featuring a vintage 1940’s Streamliner train, our own ‘Reno Limited’ to convey our guests in ‘Club Car’ comfort to & from Reno in grand style. With big picture windows, fresh flowers, fine dining and an attentive staff, this is a delightful and nostalgic way to travel. Our guests enjoy three nights at the superb Silver Legacy Hotel complete with a Gala New Years Eve dinner and party, making the destination as fun as getting there.

Best of all, our holiday includes three nights in San Francisco after Reno at the legendary Mark Hopkins Hotel, the grande dame of San Francisco hotels along with plenty of free time to enjoy, in the immortal words of the late Herb Caen, ‘Everybody’s Favorite City’, San Francisco.

In short, with a spectacularly beautiful train journey, excellent accommodations, grand dining and our very own Barbara Abegglen as the tour manager, we cannot think of a nicer way to welcome the New Year.

All Aboard!
We invite you to join us.

JESS Kalinowsky


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For bookings made by  October 31, we include FREE connecting Amtrak travel from ANY US CITY to begin and end this program!

Day 1 Guests arrive and check-in for a complimentary hotel stay at the superb Woodfin Suites Hotel located just a one minute walk from the Emeryville Amtrak Station.
2 A morning departure for Reno over the fabled ‘Overland Route’ with a stunning ride in daylight through the high Sierra, past Donner Lake and into Reno over the original Transcontinental Railroad. We begin our two-night stay at the superbly located Silver Legacy Resort tonight. B D
3 All morning at leisure to enjoy this lovely setting or to enjoy games of chance. Tonight, a Gala New Years Eve Dinner & Party to ring in the New Year is included. B D R
4 All morning to sleep in on the first day of the year. Later today, a special lunch with new found friends with a final evening in Reno at leisure, possibly taking in one of floor shows.
5 We depart Reno after breakfast for the stunningly beautiful ride west through the Sierra Nevada, around Stanford Curve and past Blue Canyon to Sacramento and then along San Francisco Bay for an early evening arrival at the the Mark Hopkins Hotel atop Nob Hill. B L
6 Wake up today in what is considered the best place to live in the world. (Ask any San Franciscan!) Just outside is the fabled Powell St. Cable Car Line waiting to show you this amazing city. It’s a city that delights all the senses.
7 Mark Hopkins is a San Francisco Landmark, its located just a
few blocks from Union Square. Care to shop today? Tonight we have planned a very San Francisco experience just for our
group. Ah-ahh, no telling – it’s a surprise. Later enjoy a fare- well cocktail toast on our last night with our new friends.
8 Today we return home in the new year with a collection of
indelible memories to revisit for a lifetime. Chances are you’ll
come back someday for all who come, tend to leave their heart in San Francisco.



September 19, 2008

Great Smoky Mountains by Train + River Boat with

Fall Colors
in the
Great Smoky Mountains

By train with the Biltmore Estate
in Asheville, the Steamboat
American Queen and the storied
Peabody Hotel, Memphis

14 days from $3,695.00


JESS Kalinowsky

P R O G R A M    F E A T U R E S    A T   A    G L A N C E

Join us on a very special Autumn holiday to the Great Smoky Mountains that includes, in one relaxed holiday, every feature one would hope for on the Great American vacation: Complimentary travel to the start of the trip in St. Louis, two nights in lovely Asheville, North Carolina with a tour of the fabled Biltmore Estate of the Vanderbilts, two nights in the Great Smoky Mountains at the luxury Park Vista Resort with complete touring and a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad and last but not least, a rare voyage on the Mississippi river from St. Louis to Memphis aboard the greatest steamboat ever built American Queen. With superb hotels, grand dining, the Great Smoky Mountains, Asheville and the American Queen, there is only one important ingredient missing, you!

We invite you to join us. JESS Kalinowsky

  • Complimentary train travel from any US city to St. Louis and the start of our tour when booked early. Those with less time may take advantage of our $99. airfare from over 189 gateway cities to St. Louis.
  • Superb hotels throughout including the Atlanta Hilton with a special farewell dinner at famed Trader Vic’s!
  • Fully hosted by professional tour manager from start to finish, to handle all the details to make your holiday even more enjoyable. Most meals with breakfast daily.
  • Special cocktail parties & events just for our guests.
  • Two-nights in lovely Asheville, North Carolina at the wonderfully located Doubletree Biltmore at the gates of the fabled Biltmore Estate of the Vanderbilt family. We have included a tour of Asheville as well.
  • Biltmore Estate visit including lunch at Deerpark Restaurant on the Vanderbilt Estate.
  • Two-nights at the excellent Park Vista Resort Hotel in Gatlinburg, TN, in the Great Smoky Mountains. All rooms at Park Vista have their own balcony.
  • Complete tour of the most visited National Parks in America, Great Smoky Mountain National Park as well as a visit to Cades Cove, famed for its blue-misted mountains.
  • The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad excursion train through Nantahala River Gorge with highlights like Horseshoe Curve, Fontana Lake Trestle and the Tennessee River, fantastic scenery during the height of Fall Colors.
  • Overnight stay in St. Louis at the perfectly located Drury Plaza Hotel. Located just minutes away from the famous Arch, the Gateway to the West it’s a great place to begin our journey.
  • Rare six-night Passage from St. Louis to Memphis aboard the Steamboat American Queen, the largest and most opulent river boat ever built. ‘Ports’ include Cape Girardeau, Mt.Vernon, lovely Paducah, New Madrid before our arrival in Memphis where we transfer and enjoy the spectacular Opryland Resort. Nicely, all meals & entertainment aboard the river boat are included.

Journey to the splendor of the American West, The Path of Lewis and Clark.

Best of the West  – 13 days from $2,895 pp


Round-trip by train to Glacier National Park, Grand Teton, Arches & Canyonlands National Parks

The American West  is graced with five truly astonishing National Parks: Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Arches and Canyonlands and it is with great pleasure that we have combined them, along with two legendary train journeys, all in one leisurely and glorious holiday that offers comfort, extraordinary sightseeing, personalized attention and an intelligent itinerary.

We begin in Chicago, or Seattle/Portland with an overnight journey aboard the famed ‘Empire Builder’ train to magical Glacier National Park, Montana where we stay overnight in one of the grand historic lodges built in the early 20th Century by the Great Northern Railroad, before embarking on the fabled ‘Going to the Sun’ Highway over the Continental Divide aboard one of the famous red ‘jammer’ buses. We then travel south to relaxing Fairmont Hot Springs with an overnight stay in this soothing setting before the visual feast of Yellowstone where we stay two-nights (many other tours offer just one night) where again, complete sightseeing is featured including Old Faithful, Upper & Lower Falls and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Here, as at all places we visit, ALL sightseeing and admission fees are included. From Yellowstone, we head to Grand Teton National Park for a two-night stay that also includes a scenic float trip on the Snake River. Then south, to Salt Lake City for an overnight stay in this lovely city before another double-header of amazing sights, Canyonland and Arches National Parks!

After Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, we board the legendary ‘California Zephyr’ train for the breathtaking passage through the Colorado Rockies in daylight over the ‘Main Line Through the Rockies’ of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, a route celebrated for over 100 years as the ultimate passage through the Rockies. Guests bound for the West Coast enjoy the daylight passage through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

At #FriendsTravel Train Holidays, we operate these programs to be the opposite of most tours. There is huge amounts of free time, folks are not forced to spend every waking moment on a regimented schedule, there are no name badges and we find our tours appeal to passengers that would not normally consider an escorted holiday. Our hotels on this program are uncommonly nice compared to standard tours, most meals are included, the majority of our hotel stays are two-nights long and there are no exhausting days. A professional tour manager is with you from start to finish to handle all the details, allowing you to relax and enjoy the important things, like the best photo of Old Faithful or a bald eagle.

With no flying or airports required, intelligent and comprehensive sightseeing, a leisurely pace and travel aboard two famous trains along with only four departures, prompt reservations are encouraged to avoid disappointment. All Aboard!  JESS Kalinowsky


  • Train travel from Chicago, Seattle, or Portland to Glacier National Park, Montana aboard the famous ‘Empire Builder’ train, a speedy scenic overnight trip.

  • Fully hosted from start to finish by professional tour manager that handles all the details.

  • Two-night stay and full day in stunning Glacier National Park including the famed ‘Going to the Sun’ Highway across the Continental Divide by red open-air ‘jammer’ bus.

  • A blissful overnight stay in Fairmont Hot Springs with plenty of time to enjoy the healing waters (admission is included).

  • Gates of the Mountain cruise on the Missouri River so vividly described by Lewis & Clark, a visual feast.

  • Two-night hotel stays in Yellowstone, Jackson Hole and Arches National Park.

  • Complete sightseeing throughout including all admission fees and special treats such as the scenic float trip on the Snake River in Jackson Hole, all at no extra charge.

  • Luxury hotel stay in Salt Lake City, a nice ‘urban indulgence’ during our tour.

  • Most meals including breakfast daily.

  • Train travel from Utah to California through the Sierra Nevadas or to Chicago aboard the ‘California Zephyr’ train with a spectacular daylight trip through the Colorado Rockies over the storied Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad ‘Mainline through the Rockies’.

Overnight Aboard the Train

We have included travel to Glacier Park aboard the Empire Builder, a fabled and scenic route everyone should experience once. Guests who wish to upgrade from the included coach accommodations may upgrade to bedroom accommodations and pricing varies by date and room type. Like airline tickets, rates are less costly when early reservations are made. The Empire Builder features full dining car and sightseer lounge service regardless of your accommodation onboard. Similarly, guests may choose to upgrade aboard the California Zephyr train at the conclusion of the tour.

Happily, our passengers begin their holiday aboard the Empire Builder, Amtrak’s highest-rated train in terms of customer satisfaction. With refurbished cars, upgraded dining service with real dining cars with menu items prepared freshly onboard and served atop white linen, the Empire Builder makes travel a treat. With a glass-windowed sightseer lounge car for taking in the magnificent vistas of the West, this is a relaxing and pleasant way to start your vacation. Boarding points include Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul. Easy same-day connections are available from almost all Midwest points as well.

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