Retracing Orient Express

Paris and Istanbul.

What do these two cities have in common?

It should be quite simple if you’ve noticed the title. Both cities are in fact the original terminus of the famous Orient Express train service.

The mention of the name ‘Orient Express’ has always invoked intrigue as well as the romance of travel. It had provided the setting for the Agatha Christie’s thriller Murder on the Orient Express and Sean Connery rode and fought Russians on it in From Russia with Love. These are just two among the many cultural references to this famous service.

Sadly the last direct train between Paris and Istanbul had ran its last journey on 19 May 1977. As stated in my last post, I intend to visit Istanbul from Paris next October. While the easiest way to get between the city pair is a direct flight which takes only three and a half hour, being a sucker for overland travel I find the idea of retracing the route of the Orient Express hard to resist.

The Man in Seat 61 contained excellent resource on how to retrace the steps of the famous service. His piece on the history of the Orient Express is also a very good read.

The journey could be made in one go in 48 hours in three trains but what’s the fun in passing fabulous cities such as Vienna and Budapest. I haven’t decided on my exact route as I’m fiddling with the idea of making a detour via Berlin and Prague.

Tough choices will be made…

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