Ro­mance and a royal nod

Rob In­gram finds Art Deco glam­our by river and im­pe­rial el­e­gance by rail on a voy­age in cen­tral Europe

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - CRUISE SPECIAL -

OR too many peo­ple, travel has be­come like fast food. The con­ve­nience of get­ting it over and done with rates higher than the qual­ity of the ex­pe­ri­ence.

Planes still aren’t fast enough for some trav­ellers but, as Cana­dian nov­el­ist Mar­garet At­wood con­tends, the hu­man soul can only go as fast as a man can walk.

So in the mael­strom of to­day’s check-ins, se­cu­rity screen­ings, cus­toms in­spec­tions and im­mi­gra­tion pro­ce­dures, there are those of us who still look long­ingly at vin­tage travel posters.

Here are the trav­ellers of yes­ter­year lan­guid and laid­back, ca­sual and care­free, supine and som­no­lent, in li­nen suit and hooded coat, in boater and cloche hat, sleek of sil­hou­ette, Gatsby glam, deco dandy, wait­ing pa­tiently be­side a pyra­mid of be­spoke lug­gage for a uni­formed at­ten­dant.

Could travel have ever been this gra­cious and re­fined?

On a plat­form in the show­piece train sta­tion of Linz, Aus­tria’s third-largest city, a group of ca­sual and care­free way­far­ers await their train ear­lier this year with per­haps a lit­tle more clam­our than glam­our.

The men have favoured the cargo pant and the T-shirt hon­our­ing beer brands and foot­ball fran­chises rather than the re­strict­ing tuxedo and top hat, and the women are clad in mesh tank tops and work­out tights rather than the silk tea gowns of the ’20s.

But el­e­gance isn’t far down the line.

More than 30,000 trav­ellers a day pass through Linz Cen­tral, but this se­lect group is about to board the Ma­jes­tic Im­per­a­tor Train de Luxe.

DOU­BLE THE LUX­URY: The high-qual­ity in­te­rior of acar­riage.

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