Family Getaways: Ceres Rail steam train excursion
Before the morning’s golden hour, streetlights left a golden sheen on the red paint of the Ceres Rail carriages. The morning was crisp. Little feet pattered at a frenetic pace. Seriously, I have no idea how my boy was able to take 8 steps and move only about two feet. These we happy feet if ever I saw them. We were taking a trip on a real steam train.
We were a little early, and had some time to explore the area. Naturally we walked over to where the steam engine waited, burning coal, and taking on water since the night before. This relic from a bygone era let out a majestic explosion of steam, and instantly I had a little monkey on me. The black engine, Jessica, would be taking us to Ceres.
After signing an indemnity form we entered the train, and were greeted by a scene that looked more like a hotel lounge than a train coach. There were couches, proper comfortable "place for a child to sleep" couches. We picked a space with 2 couches and a bucket seat. The day was going to be a long one, and the kids would need somewhere to sleep. I quickly popped off the train and grabbed our suitcase, which got a couple of smiles. We were sorted, pillows, blankets, spare clothes for the kids, and a couple of snacks and juices.
Everyone was onboard and the whistle sounded and just like that, we were off on a day of classic old time adventure.
The first part of the journey took us past some interesting parts of the city, as only a train track can. There is something magical about a steam train, something that makes old people pull out their phones and take pictures, something that makes children wave, and passengers wave back. The whole world seems more friendly when traveling by rail.
What touched me deeply was seeing people with very little, living in tiny houses on tiny plots of land, who still found a way to provide a jungle gym for their children. There is something fundamentally right with a country where parents still do what they can for their children.
Speaking of children; I handed our pair a juice each. Then we quickly walked even further back in time. We got all the way back to the early 1930s. The dining cart served as the venue for a quick coffee date. It was beautiful. Real wood finishes, chairs that were not bolted down, and friendly staff, let us imagine for a moment that we were indeed in another era.
If we were not already feeling like royalty, sparkling wine was served.
What really made the trip work with kids was that they had ample room to play, the toilets were clean and had enough space to actually be able to help a toddler (try it on a plane some time, completely different story. The staff were friendly, and really paid attention to the children.
As the train pulled into the station at the Ceres Golf Club, we were greeted by a pear tree in full bloom, and we made a mental note to do this trip again in summer when we could partake of the bounty.
Lunch was a very hearty home cooked meal. Quiche for starters followed by bread and pasta or lasagne. The chicken pasta was amazing.
Some children took to the golf course, running with a freedom only a child knows. Some poor golfer almost had a stroke when some of the boys began running laps on the putting green. Boys will be boys, and soon they will be the men spending time on the greens.
My little one even got to go on a golf cart, which was really special. Thank you to the staff and members of the Ceres Golf Club, their hospitality was truly wonderful. Too soon lunch was over, and we needed to head back to the train, and start the journey home. This is when the pillows, blankets and couches really came in handy. I even took a nap on the way back.