A Review of The Train of Ice and Fire features in Candela, the newly launched magazine for Latin and Spanish lifestyle in the UK. candelalive.co.uk
‘Classic train journeys evoke certain romanticism.The Orient Express is associated with luxury and refinement, the Trans Siberian joins Europe with Asia and the Pacific Ocean, and the Palace on Wheels recreates a glorious past through Rajasthan in India. The Train of Ice and Fire evokes none of these.
Of all the places where a great train journey can be done, Manu Chao chose a country where there are no running trains and the rail network is in ruins: Colombia. This eccentric adventure takes Manu Chao, his band Mano Negra, acrobats, tattooists, various other entertainers, Manu’s father – the chronicler – and Roberto, a fire breathing Dragon, through the heartlands of Colombia in a bric-a-brac train named La Consentida.
The sole purpose of the journey: to stop at abandoned stations and entertain for free the disenfranchised people who live close by. Descending from the Altiplano – 2,500 metres above sea level – to the Northern Coast of Colombia, passing through Aracataca the hometown of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the adventure took this group of artists through some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery in the world.
Ramón’s description of the various sights, the vegetation, mountains, valleys and so on, transmits a sense of wonder, almost a feeling of disbelief in front of such well hidden beauty. However, it was the people who they encountered that amazed them most. The journey turned into a splendid rendezvous of cultures and people; a bunch of French entertainers and the simplest of people in Colombia, but also the warmest and probably the more intrigued at seeing this bunch of French gypsies in their small towns. Ramón illustrates this beautifully by noting how a terrified Colombian girl asked him how French men make love…’