Scenic train ride 遊火車河
Harry Potter fans will be familiar with The Hogwarts Railway viaduct. In real life it is called Glenfinnan Viaduct located in Scotland between Fort William and Mallaig. Although we were going to drive from Fort William to Mallaig as part of our UK road trip, we still wanted to ride the famous West Highland Line as it is one of the most scenic train routes in Britain. The 66km journey lasts for about an hour and a half, and the highlight must be going over the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
哈利波特迷一定不會對霍格華茲鐵路高架橋陌生。它的真實名稱為Glenfinnan高架橋，位於蘇格蘭的威廉堡和Mallaig之間，我們英倫環島遊時路過這兩處地方。聽說這兩地之間的火車路線是英國最漂亮之一，所以縱使會駕車經過，我們還是決定花一個早上遊火車河。 這段火車路線長66公里，車程需要差不多1.5小時，大部份乘客最期待的就是一睹著名的Glenfinnan高架橋。About half an hour into the journey, as I was busy admiring the breathtaking scenery, the train suddenly started to slow down. At first I wasn’t sure why, then suddenly I saw the stunning 380m long viaduct with its 21 semi circular spans appear in front of my eyes. The driver had slowed down deliberately for the passengers as we approached to pass the famous viaduct and even stopped momentarily on the viaduct itself. Not being a Harry Potter fan, I was able to admire this masterpiece in its original form, without the distraction of any movies scenes that I had heard about.
起行大約半小時後，正當我欣賞窗外風景時，火車突然開始減速。起初我不明所以，然後突然我看到那令人驚嘆的Glenfinnan高架橋。這380米長的高架橋，連同其21個半圓形栱橋墩像一條龍展現在我的眼前。原來司機在駛到高架橋時，故意減慢速度甚至還短暫停留在橋上讓乘客可近距離欣賞到高架橋。我本身不是哈利波特粉絲，所以腦海中完全沒有任何電影場面的影子，可以細心地欣賞這高架橋的原本色彩。Once we arrived back to Fort William we drove out to the nearby Commando Memorial to see “The Ben”. Unlike Taiwan, UK is not a mountainous country and our highest mountain Ben Nevis stands at 1345m, low in comparison to the mountains in Taiwan but nonetheless still a very popular spot for climbers attracting 150k ascends each year. The Ben and its range of neighbouring mountains can be seen clearly from the Commando Memorial, especially on the clear day when we were there. At a distance, The Ben didn’t even seem that high, more like a hill, but then everything needs to be looked at in perspective and not in isolation to understand the truth.
回到威廉堡後，我們開車到附近的突擊隊紀念碑看暱稱“阿本”的本尼維斯山。英國跟台灣不同，不是一個多山的國家，我們最高的山本尼維斯山只有1345米，不能與台灣的綿綿高山相比。但它仍然非常受登山者歡迎，每年有超過15萬人次登山。那天，天朗氣清我們從特攻隊紀念碑可以清楚地遙望阿本及其鄰近山脈。從遠處看，阿本不似那麼高，像是一座山丘。其實我覺得凡事不能單看表面，而需要配合周圍環境一起才能理解其真實性。The Commando Memorial was built as a dedication to the Commandos who fought and died in the Second World War. In recent years, a Garden of Remembrance was added next to the statue for surviving Commandos to scatter their ashes after they pass away. Likewise, families who have lost their loved ones from other Commando units in recent year conflicts have also used the Garden at a tribute. The Memorial was very quiet when we visited on the cold March afternoon, save for a handful of other tourists, and an old gentleman sitting quietly by himself on the bench next to the statue. Was he there to remember the comrades that didn’t return from the war with him, or did he lose someone close in recent year conflicts?
突擊隊紀念碑是為紀念第二次世界大戰中陣亡的突擊部隊而建造。幾年前，紀念雕像旁邊添加了一個紀念花園作為突擊隊倖存者往生後可在此散佈骨灰的安息處。近年在其他戰爭中遇難的突擊隊隊員的親人也會到這裡向他們致敬。我們在寒冷的3月天下午到訪，紀念碑周圍非常安靜，除了寥寥可數其他遊客，只有一個老伯伯獨個兒靜靜地坐在雕像旁邊的長凳上。不知他在那裡是否正在悼念那些沒有與他從戰爭一起回來的同僚？還是他在近年的衝突中失去親人？In the afternoon we drove to our next stop Morar, a tiny little village just outside of Mallaig, taking pretty much the same route as the train in the morning. Only this time, we got to see the scenery from a slightly different angle，it was just as beautiful as it was in the morning. We rounded off our day at a hilltop at Morar watching the sunset slowly disappear above the Atlantic Ocean. Suddenly I realised we were already half way through our road trip, time flies when you are enjoying yourself.