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A luxe train trip through the Highlands

From the March 26, 2001 Issue of New York

Received wisdom dictates that the only proper way to explore the Scottish Highlands is by car. But negotiating twisting country roads on the left side (while driving on the right side of the car) sounds a lot like work -- and then there are the sheep, which tend to appear in the middle of the road without warning. It's so much easier to enjoy Scotland's unspoiled countryside aboard a luxury train. The Royal Scotsman rolls along at a leisurely 40 to 50 miles per hour, allowing its 36 pampered passengers to absorb the dramatic views from the comfort of mahogany-paneled cars while listening to bagpipes and indulging in traditional Scottish fare. Two-night journeys, which cost $2,450 per person including meals, begin and end in Edinburgh and offer daytime excursions to historic castles, whiskey distilleries, and cashmere mills. The train is stationary at night, and each sleeping cabin has its own bathroom, complete with fluffy, heated towels. Remember to pack something for the formal dinner on the second night: Some of your companions will be wearing their best kilts.

The Royal Scotsman, 44-0-131-555-1344 (runs from April through November).

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