IGCSE descriptive essay | 2010 Oct-Nov | Describe what you see from the window during a journey


You are advised to write between 350 and 500 words on the following topic:

Describe what you see from the window during a journey by road or rail.

Model Essay

The hum of the engine and the rhythmic clatter of the train wheels set the backdrop for my journey by rail. As I settled into my seat and gazed out the window, the world outside unfolded like a living tapestry, each scene a brushstroke in a constantly changing landscape.

The train chugged out of the bustling city, leaving behind a cacophony of honking horns and crowded streets. Skyscrapers, with their glassy facades reflecting the morning sun, gradually gave way to shorter, older buildings. Graffiti-covered walls and weathered warehouses flashed by, remnants of an urban past clinging to the present.

Soon, the urban sprawl melted into the suburbs, where neat rows of houses lined up like soldiers, each with a manicured lawn and a white picket fence. Children played in the yards, their laughter briefly audible as we sped by. The occasional dog barked at the passing train, a blur of fur and energy.

The train picked up speed as we left the suburbs behind, and the scenery transformed into a patchwork of fields and farms. Golden waves of wheat swayed gently in the breeze, interspersed with vibrant green patches of corn and soybeans. The fields were dotted with red and white barns, their weathered paint peeling under the relentless sun. Tractors plowed the earth, leaving neat furrows in their wake, and the distant figures of farmers toiled, bent over their crops.

A shimmering river snaked alongside the tracks, its waters glistening under the midday sun. Willow trees dipped their branches into the river, their leaves creating ripples on the surface. Ducks paddled lazily, while a lone heron stood motionless, its keen eyes scanning the water for fish. The train crossed a bridge, and for a moment, the view was nothing but the sparkling expanse of water, a brief interlude before the land reasserted itself.

We entered a stretch of dense forest, where the sunlight filtered through the canopy, casting dappled shadows on the forest floor. The trees stood tall and proud, their leaves a riot of greens, interspersed with the occasional burst of autumnal gold and crimson. The air seemed cooler here, and the scent of pine and earth seeped through the window, a refreshing change from the metallic tang of the city.


The train emerged from the forest into rolling hills, their slopes covered in a quilt of wildflowers. Poppies, daisies, and lupines painted the landscape in vivid splashes of red, white, and purple. Sheep grazed on the hillsides, their woolly forms moving slowly as they nibbled at the grass. The hills rose and fell gently, like the undulating waves of a calm sea.

As the journey continued, we passed through quaint villages, each with its own unique charm. Cobblestone streets wound through clusters of half-timbered houses, their flower boxes overflowing with blooms. The villagers went about their daily routines, a blur of faces and activities seen briefly through the window. Market stalls brimming with fresh produce and handmade crafts lined the village squares, and the aroma of baking bread and roasting coffee drifted into the train.

Approaching the journey’s end, the landscape began to change once more. The hills flattened out, and the signs of civilization reappeared. Industrial complexes with their towering smokestacks and sprawling factories marked our return to the outskirts of another city. The train slowed, and the distant hum of urban life grew louder.

Finally, the train pulled into the station, and my journey by rail came to an end. The window that had framed a moving masterpiece of nature and human endeavor now reflected the faces of fellow passengers preparing to disembark. As I stepped off the train, I carried with me the vivid images of the landscapes I had seen, a journey through the heart of the world etched into my memory.

Word Count: 629