Iconic Train Journeys: Exploring the World’s Most Scenic Routes

Exploring the World's Most Scenic Routes
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Train travel has an allure that goes beyond mere transportation. It’s about the journey as much as the destination and there are few better ways to experience the world’s natural beauty than from the window of a train. From mountain vistas to coastal panoramas, let’s embark on a virtual journey and explore some of the world’s most scenic train routes.

Train travel indeed offers a unique and captivating way to experience the world, transcending its role as a mere mode of transportation. It’s a means of embarking on unforgettable journeys that immerse travelers in the breathtaking beauty of the natural world. As we embark on this virtual journey, let’s explore some of the world’s most scenic train routes, each offering its own spectacular vistas and unforgettable experiences:

  1. The Rocky Mountaineer, Canada: This iconic train journey takes travelers through the heart of the Canadian Rockies. As the train winds its way through lush forests, towering peaks and pristine lakes, passengers are treated to views of some of North America’s most awe-inspiring landscapes. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including bears and eagles, as you traverse this breathtaking terrain.

  2. The Glacier Express, Switzerland: Known as the “slowest express train in the world,” the Glacier Express offers a leisurely pace that allows passengers to savor the beauty of the Swiss Alps. This route crosses 291 bridges and passes through 91 tunnels, offering unparalleled views of snow-capped mountains, charming alpine villages and meandering rivers.

  3. The Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia: As the longest railway journey in the world, the Trans-Siberian Railway spans over 9,000 kilometers, traversing diverse landscapes from the Ural Mountains to the Siberian taiga. Passengers can witness the changing scenery, from dense forests to vast steppes, as they cross multiple time zones and experience the grandeur of the Russian wilderness.

  4. The California Zephyr, USA: This scenic route takes passengers on a cross-country journey through the United States, from Chicago to San Francisco. Along the way, travelers are treated to sweeping views of the Colorado Rockies, the Sierra Nevada mountains and the breathtaking canyons of Utah.

  5. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, India: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this narrow-gauge railway offers a mesmerizing journey through the lush tea plantations of Darjeeling, India. As the train chugs through the Himalayan foothills, passengers are greeted with panoramic views of misty valleys and the towering peaks of Kanchenjunga.

  6. The Flam Railway, Norway: This short but spectacular railway journey in Norway takes passengers from the mountain station of Myrdal to the picturesque fjord village of Flam. Along the way, the train descends steep slopes, passing through tunnels and offering views of cascading waterfalls and serene fjords.

  7. The Ghan, Australia: Traveling from Adelaide to Darwin, the Ghan takes passengers on a captivating journey through the heart of Australia. The route crosses the vast Outback, providing a unique opportunity to witness the ever-changing desert landscapes, red sand dunes and remote wilderness.

  8. The West Highland Line, Scotland: Known for its dramatic scenery, this Scottish railway route offers travelers the chance to see the wild beauty of the Highlands. The journey includes iconic spots like the Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous by the Harry Potter films.

These scenic train routes exemplify the magic of train travel, where the journey itself becomes an integral part of the adventure. Whether you seek mountain vistas, coastal panoramas or a deep immersion into the heart of a region, these train journeys offer an unparalleled way to experience the world’s natural beauty and create lasting memories along the way.

If you’d like to dive deeper into this subject, there’s more to discover on this page:  The Best Train Trips in the World: 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards …

The Glacier Express, Switzerland

Switzerland is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and the Glacier Express offers a front-row seat to some of the country’s most stunning scenery. This iconic train journey winds its way through the Swiss Alps, connecting Zermatt and St. Moritz. Passengers traverse deep valleys, cross picturesque bridges and marvel at snow-capped peaks. The journey includes the Oberalp Pass, where the train reaches an altitude of 2,033 meters (6,670 feet) and offers panoramic views of the Swiss Alps.

“Switzerland’s natural beauty is a masterpiece and the Glacier Express serves as a moving canvas, revealing the country’s scenic splendor in all its glory. As the train meanders through the Swiss Alps, it’s not just a journey; it’s a sensory experience, an ode to the majesty of nature.

  1. A Symphony of Landscapes: The Glacier Express is a symphony of landscapes. Passengers are treated to an ever-changing panorama that evolves from lush valleys to towering peaks. The train’s route is a showcase of Switzerland’s geographical diversity, offering glimpses of dense forests, sparkling lakes and charming alpine villages.

  2. Bridge to Serenity: The picturesque bridges that dot the route not only provide structural connectivity but also serve as portals to serenity. As the train traverses these architectural marvels, it offers passengers the chance to reflect on the pristine beauty of the Swiss countryside.

  3. Snow-Capped Dreams: The sight of snow-capped peaks is a highlight of the journey. Towering mountains wearing a crown of glistening white provide a breathtaking backdrop. These majestic summits seem to whisper tales of adventure and exploration.

  4. The Oberalp Pass: The Glacier Express journey culminates in the dramatic ascent to the Oberalp Pass. At an altitude of 2,033 meters (6,670 feet), passengers are treated to panoramic views that stretch as far as the eye can see. It’s a moment that encapsulates the grandeur of the Swiss Alps and leaves an indelible mark on the traveler’s soul.

  5. A Feast for the Senses: Beyond the visual spectacle, the Glacier Express engages all the senses. The gentle rhythm of the train on the tracks, the crisp mountain air and the subtle scent of alpine flora create an immersive experience that transcends the ordinary.

  6. Cultural Connections: Along the way, the journey also weaves through the cultural tapestry of Switzerland. Passengers can savor Swiss cuisine and hospitality on board, adding a taste of tradition to the visual feast outside.

  7. A Voyage of Discovery: Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photographer seeking the perfect shot or simply a traveler in search of awe-inspiring moments, the Glacier Express offers a voyage of discovery. Each turn of the track reveals a new facet of Switzerland’s natural beauty.

  8. An Unforgettable Memory: The Glacier Express isn’t just a train ride; it’s a memory etched in time. It’s a reminder of the harmonious relationship between human engineering and the pristine environment, a testament to the enduring allure of the Swiss Alps.

In essence, the Glacier Express is a moving postcard of Switzerland’s natural wonders. It invites travelers to slow down, savor the moment and revel in the sheer magnificence of the Swiss Alps. This iconic train journey isn’t just about reaching a destination; it’s about the journey itself, a voyage through a world of breathtaking landscapes and boundless wonder.”

Additionally, you can find further information on this topic by visiting this page:  5 of the Best Scenic Train Rides in Switzerland | Railbookers®

The Glacier Express, Switzerland - Exploring the World's Most Scenic Routes

The Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer is a luxury train journey through the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Canadian Rockies. Passengers are treated to vistas of lush forests, dramatic canyons and towering mountain ranges. The train offers various routes, including a journey from Vancouver to Banff, where travelers can witness the stunning beauty of places like Lake Louise and Kicking Horse Pass.

Indeed, Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer offers a journey through some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes on the planet. As passengers settle into their comfortable seats and peer out of the train’s panoramic windows, they are treated to a visual feast of natural wonders that unfold before them. Let’s delve deeper into the remarkable features of this iconic train journey:

1. Lush Forests and Breathtaking Wilderness:

As the Rocky Mountaineer departs from Vancouver, passengers quickly find themselves surrounded by a sea of lush forests. Towering evergreen trees blanket the landscape, creating a serene atmosphere that immerses travelers in the beauty of the Canadian wilderness. The scent of pine needles fills the air and the occasional sighting of wildlife adds an element of excitement to the journey.

2. Dramatic Canyons and Rugged Terrain:

The train’s route takes it through dramatic canyons and rugged terrain. Passengers can marvel at the sheer rock faces, carved over millennia by the force of flowing rivers. The train navigates through narrow passages, offering a thrilling sense of adventure as it winds its way through the dramatic landscape.

3. Towering Mountain Ranges:

The highlight of the Rocky Mountaineer journey is undoubtedly the breathtaking views of the Canadian Rockies. These towering mountain ranges, often capped with glistening snow, provide a stunning backdrop for the entire trip. Passengers are treated to unobstructed views of peaks that seem to touch the sky, creating a sense of awe and wonder.

4. The Journey to Lake Louise:

One of the most memorable segments of the journey is the approach to Lake Louise. The train passes through Kicking Horse Pass, a historic and picturesque mountain pass that has been a gateway to the Rockies for generations. The sight of the emerald waters of Lake Louise nestled amidst snow-capped peaks is nothing short of magical. Passengers often feel compelled to snap countless photographs to capture the moment.

5. Exceptional Service and Comfort:

While the landscapes steal the show, the Rocky Mountaineer experience itself is also noteworthy. Passengers are pampered with exceptional service, including gourmet dining and comfortable seating. The train’s bi-level glass-dome carriages ensure that there is no shortage of breathtaking views from every seat.

Conclusion: A Journey of a Lifetime

The Rocky Mountaineer is more than just a train journey; it’s an immersive experience that connects travelers with the raw and untamed beauty of the Canadian Rockies. It’s a journey that ignites the spirit of adventure, evokes a deep appreciation for nature’s wonders and leaves passengers with memories that last a lifetime. As travelers disembark from this iconic train, they often carry with them not only a sense of wonder but also a renewed respect for the awe-inspiring power of nature.

If you’d like to dive deeper into this subject, there’s more to discover on this page:  The Best Train Trips in the World: 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards …

The Rocky Mountaineer, Canada - Exploring the World's Most Scenic Routes

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is synonymous with luxury and romance. This iconic train journey evokes the elegance of a bygone era, traversing Europe’s most captivating landscapes. The route takes passengers from London to Venice, passing through the picturesque countryside of France, Switzerland and Italy. With vintage carriages adorned in Art Deco style, passengers can enjoy gourmet dining and unmatched scenery along the way.

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, a name that conjures images of opulence and romance, stands as a timeless testament to the allure of luxury travel. This iconic train journey harks back to a golden age of transportation, where the journey itself was as enchanting as the destination. As travelers embark on this illustrious odyssey, they are transported not only through Europe’s most captivating landscapes but also on a voyage through time, reliving the elegance of a bygone era.

The route, from London to Venice, serves as a veritable tapestry of European beauty. Passengers are treated to a visual feast as the train traverses the picturesque countryside of France, Switzerland and Italy. Rolling hills, quaint villages and breathtaking mountain vistas unfold outside the train windows, offering a breathtaking panorama that changes with each passing hour. It’s a journey that invites contemplation, as passengers are gently guided through a world of natural wonders and architectural marvels.

But it’s not just the external scenery that captivates the senses; the train itself is a work of art. The vintage carriages, lovingly restored to their former glory, are exquisite examples of Art Deco design. Every detail, from the polished wood paneling to the sumptuous upholstery, exudes an air of sophistication and refinement. Passengers are transported not just geographically but also into a world of timeless style and luxury.

One of the crowning jewels of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express experience is the dining. Gourmet meals, prepared by skilled chefs, are served in elegant dining cars adorned with fine china, crystal glassware and silver cutlery. As the train winds its way through Europe, passengers are treated to culinary delights that celebrate the rich gastronomic traditions of each region. Dining on the Orient-Express is not merely sustenance but an artful indulgence.

The journey is not just about the scenery and the luxury; it’s about the experience of unhurried travel. Passengers have the opportunity to savor each moment, to engage in unhurried conversations and to immerse themselves in the ambiance of a bygone era. It’s a reminder that in today’s fast-paced world, there is great value in slowing down, in appreciating the journey itself and in savoring life’s luxuries.

In conclusion, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is more than a train journey; it’s a voyage through time and a celebration of the finer things in life. It encapsulates the romance of travel, the beauty of Europe’s landscapes and the allure of luxury. As passengers step off the train in Venice, they carry with them not only memories of a remarkable journey but also a renewed appreciation for the elegance and artistry of a bygone era.

Don’t stop here; you can continue your exploration by following this link for more details:  A Guide to the Most Scenic Trains in Switzerland and Italy …

The Indian Pacific, Australia

The Indian Pacific is one of Australia’s most famous train journeys, spanning the continent from Sydney to Perth. This epic transcontinental route crosses the vast and varied landscapes of Australia, including the sweeping plains of the Nullarbor Desert, the rusty hues of the Outback and the lush greenery of the Blue Mountains. As the train traverses the country, passengers witness the ever-changing beauty of the Australian continent.

The Indian Pacific is not just a train journey; it’s a breathtaking odyssey through the heart of Australia’s diverse and awe-inspiring landscapes. From its departure in Sydney to its arrival in Perth, this transcontinental voyage offers passengers an unforgettable tapestry of natural wonders and cultural richness.

As the Indian Pacific departs from Sydney, it embarks on a journey that takes passengers through the iconic Blue Mountains. Here, the train winds its way through lush eucalyptus forests, revealing panoramic vistas of deep valleys, towering sandstone cliffs and cascading waterfalls. The evergreen beauty of this region provides a captivating contrast to the arid landscapes that lie ahead.

As the train ventures further into the continent, it encounters the vast Nullarbor Desert, a place of stark and breathtaking beauty. Passengers are treated to an unending horizon of arid plains, where the land seems to stretch endlessly to meet the sky. This seemingly desolate landscape is far from lifeless; it teems with unique flora and fauna adapted to the harsh desert environment. The sheer expanse of the Nullarbor is a humbling reminder of the sheer scale of Australia’s landscapes.

Continuing westward, the Indian Pacific delves into the heart of the Outback, where the rusty hues of the Red Centre come to life. Here, passengers can witness the iconic silhouette of Uluru (Ayers Rock) bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun. The ancient rock formations, the sacred sites of indigenous communities and the rugged beauty of the Outback create an atmosphere of profound reverence and wonder.

Throughout the journey, passengers have the opportunity to disembark at various stops, immersing themselves in the rich history and culture of the regions they pass through. They can explore vibrant cities, learn about indigenous heritage and savor the flavors of local cuisine, all while forging connections with the diverse communities along the route.

The Indian Pacific is not just a mode of transportation; it is a conduit for experiencing the ever-changing beauty of the Australian continent. It showcases the remarkable diversity of landscapes, climates and cultures that define this vast and enchanting land. As passengers traverse this epic transcontinental route, they are reminded that the beauty of Australia lies not only in its destinations but also in the incredible journey itself.

Don’t stop here; you can continue your exploration by following this link for more details:  8 best train journeys in Australia – Times Travel

The Indian Pacific, Australia - Exploring the World's Most Scenic Routes

The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, USA

For a taste of the American Wild West, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers a thrilling journey through the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. This historic route takes passengers on a rugged adventure along steep cliffs and through deep canyons. The train, with its vintage steam locomotive, provides a unique opportunity to experience the untamed beauty of the American Southwest.

Exploring the rugged beauty of the American Wild West through the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is an experience that transports passengers back in time while offering an unforgettable adventure. Here’s an extension of this idea:

“For a truly immersive journey into the American Wild West, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad stands as an iconic testament to history and adventure. This extraordinary railroad excursion beckons travelers to embark on an awe-inspiring odyssey through the spectacular San Juan Mountains of Colorado, where nature’s grandeur unfolds at every turn.

  1. A Living Piece of History: The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is more than just a scenic train ride; it’s a living piece of history. The vintage steam locomotive and meticulously preserved railcars transport passengers back to a bygone era, evoking the spirit of the 19th-century American West when railways were the lifelines of frontier communities.

  2. Journey Through Untamed Terrain: As the train chugs along the narrow, winding tracks, it embarks on a mesmerizing odyssey through terrain that’s as rugged as it is beautiful. Passengers are treated to panoramic vistas of steep cliffs, deep canyons and untamed wilderness, offering a unique glimpse into the untouched beauty of the American Southwest.

  3. A Thrill for Adventurers: This journey isn’t just a passive sightseeing experience; it’s a thrilling adventure. The narrow gauge track and steep gradients make for an exhilarating ride, offering moments of excitement and anticipation as the train navigates through challenging landscapes. It’s an unforgettable experience for adventure seekers.

  4. Natural Splendor: The San Juan Mountains serve as a backdrop of unparalleled natural splendor. Towering peaks, pristine rivers and dense forests create a sensory feast for passengers, making this journey a photographer’s dream and a nature lover’s paradise.

  5. Historical Narration: Knowledgeable guides on board share captivating stories and historical insights, adding depth and context to the landscapes passing by. Passengers gain a deeper appreciation for the role of railroads in the westward expansion of the United States.

  6. Community and Culture: Beyond its scenic beauty, the Durango and Silverton Railroad offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region. Passengers can learn about the indigenous communities, early settlers and the challenges they faced in taming the wild terrain.

  7. A Connection to the Past: Riding this historic railway is a way to connect with the pioneering spirit of those who built and traveled on these rails more than a century ago. It’s a tribute to the grit, determination and vision that shaped the American West.

In conclusion, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad isn’t just a train ride; it’s an extraordinary voyage into the heart of the American Wild West. It offers history, adventure and a profound connection to the untamed beauty that has captivated generations of explorers and adventurers.”

Explore this link for a more extensive examination of the topic:  Winter rail adventures: Picturesque train rides worth exploring America

The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, USA - Exploring the World's Most Scenic Routes

The Ghan, Australia

Another Australian gem, The Ghan, offers a journey through the heart of the continent. This iconic train ride takes passengers from Adelaide to Darwin, traversing the Australian Outback. Along the way, travelers witness the mesmerizing landscapes of the Red Centre, including the famous Uluru (Ayers Rock), as well as the lush greenery of the Top End.

The Ghan, a true Australian treasure, presents an extraordinary journey that immerses travelers in the very heart of the continent. This iconic train ride embarks from Adelaide and winds its way northward, ultimately reaching the vibrant city of Darwin. Throughout this epic voyage, passengers are treated to a kaleidoscope of breathtaking landscapes that showcase the mesmerizing diversity of the Australian Outback.

  1. The Red Centre’s Enchantment: As The Ghan makes its way through the Australian Outback, passengers are privy to the enchanting allure of the Red Centre. The rust-colored sands and rugged terrain provide an awe-inspiring backdrop that seems to stretch on endlessly. It’s a captivating sight, one that connects travelers to the ancient history and natural beauty of this vast land.

  2. Uluru’s Majestic Presence: A highlight of The Ghan’s journey is the opportunity to witness the majestic Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock. This iconic monolith rises from the desert landscape with a commanding presence, its rich, red hues shifting with the changing light. Passengers have the chance to disembark and explore this sacred Aboriginal site, gaining a profound appreciation for its cultural and geological significance.

  3. The Allure of Remote Outback Towns: Along the route, The Ghan stops at remote Outback towns that are rarely accessible by other means. These charming communities provide a unique glimpse into Outback life, offering a chance to interact with locals, savor authentic cuisine and discover the fascinating history of the region.

  4. Wildlife Encounters: The Australian Outback is teeming with unique wildlife and passengers on The Ghan may be fortunate enough to spot some of these remarkable creatures. From kangaroos and emus to a myriad of bird species, the journey provides an opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts to observe these fascinating animals in their natural habitats.

  5. Top End’s Lush Greenery: As the journey nears its end in Darwin, the landscape undergoes a transformation. The stark beauty of the Red Centre gives way to the lush greenery of the Top End. Passengers are greeted by tropical landscapes, dense forests and the vibrant hues of a thriving ecosystem, providing a striking contrast to the arid plains of the earlier stages of the journey.

  6. Cultural Connections: Beyond the natural wonders, The Ghan journey offers rich cultural experiences. Travelers have the chance to engage with Indigenous communities, gaining insights into their traditions, art and stories that have been passed down through generations. These interactions foster a deeper understanding of Australia’s cultural tapestry.

  7. Luxury Travel: The Ghan experience itself is one of luxury and comfort. Passengers are pampered with well-appointed cabins, gourmet dining and exceptional service, ensuring that the journey is not only awe-inspiring but also indulgent and relaxing.

In summary, The Ghan’s voyage from Adelaide to Darwin is an unparalleled exploration of Australia’s diverse landscapes, cultures and natural wonders. It’s a journey that seamlessly blends adventure, luxury and enlightenment, leaving an indelible impression on those fortunate enough to embark on this iconic train ride through the heart of the continent.

Don’t stop here; you can continue your exploration by following this link for more details:  See the world’s most epic landscapes on these 9 train trips

The Ghan, Australia - Exploring the World's Most Scenic Routes

These iconic train journeys are not just modes of transportation; they are experiences that allow travelers to connect with the world’s natural wonders. Whether you’re seeking adventure, romance or a deeper connection with nature, these scenic train routes offer a unique perspective of our planet’s diverse and breathtaking landscapes. So, hop on board, gaze out the window and let the world’s beauty unfold before your eyes on these unforgettable train journeys.

Embarking on one of these iconic train journeys is akin to stepping into a portal to some of the most awe-inspiring corners of our planet. These rail routes offer not only transportation but also a profound and transformative connection with nature’s marvels. Expanding on this idea, let’s explore the enriching experiences that await travelers:

  1. Immersive Nature Encounters: These scenic train journeys immerse travelers in the natural world like no other mode of transportation. Passengers are enveloped by breathtaking landscapes, from rugged mountain ranges to lush valleys and from serene lakeshores to untamed forests.

  2. A Symphony of Senses: As the train traverses diverse terrains, the sensory experience is unparalleled. The scent of pine forests, the crisp mountain air, the gentle caress of a coastal breeze and the symphony of wildlife sounds create an orchestra of sensations that captivate the soul.

  3. Spiritual Connection: The beauty of these landscapes often inspires a sense of reverence and awe. Passengers may find themselves feeling deeply connected to nature, experiencing moments of serenity, introspection and gratitude as they traverse these natural wonders.

  4. Adventure and Exploration: For those seeking adventure, these journeys are an opportunity to explore remote and rugged landscapes that might otherwise be inaccessible. Hiking, wildlife watching and outdoor excursions can add a layer of adventure to the trip.

  5. Romantic Getaways: The romantic allure of these train journeys is undeniable. Couples can share intimate moments while gazing at stunning vistas, savoring gourmet meals on board and cozying up in comfortable train cabins as they traverse some of the world’s most romantic landscapes.

  6. Cultural Encounters: Beyond nature, these routes often pass through culturally rich regions. Travelers can engage with local communities, learn about indigenous cultures and discover the traditions, art and history of the areas they traverse.

  7. Environmental Education: These journeys also serve as educational opportunities. Passengers gain a greater appreciation for the environment and the importance of conservation efforts as they witness firsthand the pristine beauty of natural habitats.

  8. Slow Travel Philosophy: Scenic train journeys embody the “slow travel” philosophy, encouraging passengers to savor the journey itself rather than rushing to a destination. This unhurried pace allows for reflection, relaxation and genuine connection with the surroundings.

  9. Sustainable Travel: Trains are known for their eco-friendly credentials, emitting significantly less carbon than many other modes of transportation. Choosing these scenic train routes aligns with a commitment to sustainable and responsible travel.

  10. Creating Lasting Memories: The moments experienced on these journeys often become cherished memories that last a lifetime. Travelers find themselves reminiscing about the landscapes, encounters and emotions evoked during the trip.

  11. Global Perspective: These journeys offer a unique global perspective. Passengers gain insights into the Earth’s diversity, the interconnectedness of ecosystems and the shared responsibility to protect and preserve our planet.

In essence, these iconic train journeys transcend mere travel; they are transformative odysseys that leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those fortunate enough to embark on them. Whether seeking adventure, romance or a deeper connection with the natural world, these experiences invite travelers to slow down, savor the moment and behold the unparalleled beauty of our planet’s most captivating landscapes.

Should you desire more in-depth information, it’s available for your perusal on this page:  Discovering the World’s Most Scenic Train Rides: Tracks …

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Looking for more insights? You’ll find them right here in our extended coverage:  The Best Train Trips in the World: 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards …

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