On the last leg of our journey through Asturias, we hopped onto the newly launched Transcantabrico Gran Lujo train to get a taste of something different. We had spent the past week traversing its mountains by car, exploring its fishing villages on foot and now, whizzing through Asturia’s prairies and valleys on a train. But it’s not just any train, it’s the Transcantabrico Gran Lujo – the epitomy of luxury train travel.
Akin to the Oriente Express of Spain, it is an exclusive luxury tourist train that promises to deliver the highest standards in service and facilities. To cater to travelers of refined taste, everything about the train trip is exclusive: from the suite accommodation to the trip itinerary to the cuisine and excursions.
The Transcantabrico Gran Lujo train journey has a standard itinerary that goes from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela (or the other direction). Due to our tight schedule, our experience was unfortunately a tad bit shorter, traversing from Candás to Navas in Asturias. Nonetheless, we got to experience quite a bit of the train journey – sampling its gourmet lunch, dancing the night away in the disco carriage and spending a night in our luxury suite, waking up to see the landscapes of Asturias whizz by.
Our train journey began with a gourmet lunch immaculately prepared by the train’s in-house veteran chef. After warmly welcoming us with a round of champagne, the friendly team of staff served up sumptuous dishes of Michelin standards.
First dish: soft cheese from the region sprinkled with crisp bits of Jamón Iberico (cured ham). It opened up my appetite for more and when the second dish – sardines soaked in olive oil punctuated by mint leaves – was served, I had high expectations for the main course. The protagonist of the meal didn’t disappoint: the tender oven-baked cod fish punctuated with outrageously flavorful crab meat sauce was a dramatic end to the gastronomic experience.
I tiptoed my way into the kitchen to have a chat with the chef, “The biggest challenge for me when I first started cooking on the train was trying to adjust to the movement of the train. It took me awhile to make sure my food didn’t tumble to the ground…” resulting in a series of laughter on our end.
Back in my suite, I was astonished to see how well-furbished and spacious it was. Each of the train’s suites are fitted with a double bed or two twin beds, a wardrobe, two TVs, a PC with free internet connection, a large sofa, a work desk with panoramic views and a full bathroom with hydromassage.
If not for the impressive views of the countryscapes whizzing by, I would have barely noticed that I was on the train – it was literally a five-star hotel on wheels.
By the end of our train journey, I couldn’t bear to leave – lounging on my bed and watching the world go by through the train windows.
Here’s a photo I shot from my bed, dreamy isnt it?
To see more of my photos from Asturias, click on any of the images above or go to my online gallery.