Tag Archives: train station

A Visit to Hartenbos via the Diaz Express from Santos Beach, Mossel Bay (2017-01-02) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 06 AUG 2017

At the start of this year, while away for a bit of a break in Gouritz, I took a drive out to Mossel Bay in order to treat the girls with a ride aboard the cute, tourist friendly Diaz Express.

In a nutshell, the Diaz Express is a fun rail experience that takes a resurrected Type 40 Mark II Wickham Inspection Trolley and then sends it along for a run on the existing Garden Route Transnet rail network, between the seaside resorts of Great Brak River and Mossel Bay.

During peak holiday season, the Diaz Express runs the shorter hop from Mossel Bay to Hartenbos, and this then was the one that the girls and I caught a ride on.

The day that we headed out was unfortunately a bit of an overcast, drizzly affair, though that said, the slightly gloomy weather was nowhere near strong enough to dampen the excitement of the girls when they first laid eyes on the cute little blue ‘train’ sitting next to its station deck outside the venerable Santos Express train lodge above Santos Beach.

The short ride was a blast (the girls LOVED it), and once deposited at the Hartenbos train station, the girls and I then strolled down to the main entertainment hub of this iconic Afrikaaner seaside holiday escape, where we mingled with the crowd, taking in the sights and sounds of a LOT of people who, despite the weather, were clearly enjoying their December break!

Unfortunately for us, the weather was just a little too gloomy to allow for some play time down on the beach, so instead we found ourselves wandering around a bit more, snacking on treats here and there, and of course, watching everyone else, seeming impervious to the weather, having a holiday ball.

(Seriously, there was parasailing of all things on the go!)

Finally, we stumbled across a funfair ride that the girls simply wouldn’t let me pass (I tried), and most importantly, one that I would let both of them ride. In other words, the highlight of the day’s outing then.

Watching the clock, we made our way back to the Hartenbos platform, just in time to catch our ride back aboard the Diaz Express. (This time around, the journey was slightly wetter but a little more noisy – thanks to our friendly conductor having a great time entertaining all the kids by pressing the hooter every time someone’s nose got touched!)

All in all, a fun outing that I’ll definitely be doing again with the girls (and probably grandparents) I imagine.

Bonus: While grabbing some links for this post, I came across this nice little video detailing the longer and much nicer Mossel Bay to Great Brak excursion, courtesy of local South African travel writer “Travelbug” Rose Bilbrough.

Looks fantastic!

Related Link: Diaz Express | Hartenbos | Mossel Bay

Japan 2014 – 18 Going home via Tokyo Station (2014-10-04) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 05 DEC 2015

Having just enjoyed a stroll through the Imperial East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Ryan and I decided that perhaps it was time to exit Tokyo for the day and make our way back to Yokohama – and to do this we decided that we needed to use the iconic Tokyo Station!

IMG_20141004_145910 ryan lotter walking amongst the skyscrapers of the marunouchi business district, chiyoda, tokyo, japan

To get there, we would need to walk through Marunouchi, Chiyoda, one of Japan’s most prestigious business districts.

During the Edo Period, this area was located within the outer moats of Edo Castle and contained the residences of some of Japan’s most powerful feudal lords and together with neighboring Otemachi, Marunouchi is now home to the headquarters of many of Japan’s most powerful companies, particularly from the financial sector.

IMG_20141004_150235 walking amongst the skyscrapers of the marunouchi business district, chiyoda, tokyo, japan

Mitsubishi Estate owns a lot of the land in this district, and over the last decade has driven a major facelift of Marounouchi, replacing pretty much all the older office buildings with towering, modern skyscrapers – a cityscape that completely awed us two Capetonians walking underneath their shadows!

IMG_20141004_150219 walking amongst the skyscrapers of the marunouchi business district, chiyoda, tokyo, japan

Eventually, we spotted the iconic red brick facade of Tokyo Station, one of Japan’s busiest railway stations (in terms of number of trains per day – over 3,000) and terminal of multiple shinkansen (bullet train) lines!

DSC07445 iconic tokyo station railway station in marunouchi business district, chiyoda, tokyo, japan

The impressive red brick building (on the Marunouchi side of this sprawling train station complex) dates from the Meiji Period and truly is an amazing (and busy!) structure to behold.

(Amazingly, despite the immense underground warren of levels, lines and passages, Ryan and I did actually manage to find a train and make our way back to Yokohama, our base of operations for this first leg of our Japan 2014 trip!)

Related Link: Tokyo Station | Marunouchi