Retracing Orient Express [22 October 2011 to 7 November 2011]
Around this time last year, AirAsia X announced Paris as its second European destination. The price was simply too irresistible and I bought the ticket for 11 months later, not knowing whether the trip will be on.
My leave application was eventually approved and I got down to planning. Re-visiting Istanbul was high on my agenda and the excellent Man in Seat 61 gave me the idea of retracing the Orient Express. Paris and Istanbul were the termini of the famous train route and I thought that it would be a neat idea to travel between them by trains.
Initially I intended it to be a solo trip but somehow I ended up with companionship for almost the entire journey. An army friend W happened to be in Paris for work and I could do some sightseeing with him during my time there. Another friend J who was working in Romania for six months would be joining me in Vienna, Budapest and Istanbul.
Some of the highlights of the trip would be the six new countries (which would bring the number of countries visited to be greater than my age), reunion with a friend from exchange, first time in Business class and last but not least revisiting Istanbul.
Strangely I wasn’t terribly excited about the trip as the departure date drew closer. I blamed it on work but I was definitely glad to be back traveling.