Early in the morning, when the sun rays kissed the morning dew, the Blue Train graciously meandered down the rail as it nudged out of Pretoria Station heading to Cape Town.
As the luxury train made its first move I was overcome by a sense of expectation that this would be somewhat different.
How South Africa has evolved over the past 13 years. Who would ever have thought that a common mortal like myself would ever set her black feet in a previously whites-only luxury train?
Looking out of the train some of the views were spectacular and a joy to behold, but sadly others were an eyesore.
It is a miracle how the luxurious train has the effect of setting the mind completely at rest.
Like the notorious gravy train, the Blue Train has a bewitching tendency of making you forget where you come from and where you are going.
My work and personal problems flew through the window as the hotel-on-wheels' smooth movement sent me into a slumber.
This pretty face celebrated its 50th anniversary in February 1996. Officially named The Blue Train in 1946, its enthusiasts trace its history to the 1890s and the discovery of diamonds and gold.
The Blue Train offers both scheduled and charter services. Scheduled routes include Pretoria to Cape Town and Cape Town to Pretoria.
The route between Pretoria and Cape Town is a 27-hour journey of 1600km.
On the southbound trip, the train departs from Pretoria at 9.50am and arrives in Cape Town just after lunch the following day.
En route to Cape Town there's a stopover and an excursion in Kimberley, where a step back in time to the days of the diamond rush is taken.
Coming back, the train leaves Cape Town just before noon and arrives in Pretoria in time for high tea the following day.
It stops at Matjiesfontein, where guests can visit the famous Lord Milner Hotel and the old car museum.
The train also has special packaged routes from Pretoria to Durban. This route takes guests to Zimbali Lodge in Durban.
The package includes two nights' accommodation on The Blue Train and two nights at Zimbali Lodge.
Zimbali Lodge, home to a spectacular 18-hole golf course, is the golfer's ideal retreat. It boasts indigenous trees, natural streams and ponds which create a dramatic and beautiful setting.
On the last day, guests are transferred to Durban Station where the train departs for Pretoria.
The luxury suites' twin or double-bed offer deep, long baths for slow and luxuriant soaking.
The Blue Train also boasts de luxe suites, elegant lounges, fine dining, a boutique and personal services.