All Aboard The Orient Express! An Amazing Trip Through Europe By Legendary Train!

Recently, my wife Alex and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, and we decided to take something off of our bucket list: a trip on the legendary Orient Express!

The first train crossed Europe in 1883, and now, a terrific company has brought it back in all of its original splendor.

The Venice-Simplon-Orient Express is run by Belmond, who did a fantastic job, with meticulous attention to every detail…

In 1982, the Venice-Simplon Orient Express was established as a private venture, running restored 1920s and 1930s carriages from London to Venice. Stops include Paris, Budapest, and Istanbul as well. The company does an amazing job, as we discovered when our Porter Davide greeted us…

Davide took care of everything we needed on the first part of our journey: the overnight trip from Venice to Budapest, with a short stop in Vienna.

Each train car has been meticulously renovated and restored to its original look: lacquered wood and rich textures and design everywhere you look – here is our suite – two cabins opened up to give us two different ways to look out at the passing countryside:

You can also wander the entire train, but know that it will take awhile, as there were more than twenty cars on the Venice-Vienna-Budapest leg of our trip – car after car of vintage beauty:

So, can you ever get bored on the train? Not sure that is possible, as the Italian and Hungarian countryside revealed incredible images like these:

There is a dress code, and you are encouraged to dress up, so on our first night, which was our anniversary, we did just that:

We ate in the Cote D’ Azur dining car, where there is a fixed menu, but you can also order other dishes if you like:

We had the Turbot and the Lamb, and as you will see, both dishes were meticulously prepared and presented:

Service was immaculate, the four courses were filling, and of course, some champagne and wine to toast the evening.

After dinner, you are encouraged to have a drink in the legendary bar car…seen here before and then AFTER:

We met so many great people that night, everyone dressed up, celebrating and embracing this unique style of travel…

Now, you might be wondering: how do you sleep on this train? Well, our suite had two cabins and one was turned into a bunkbed for us:

You can also have them side by side but we loved this double decker sleeping – and of course, it is all done while you are at dinner.

One last note about life on the Orient Express: the bathroom is down the hall at the end of this rail car, but know that there are only 8 suites in the car, so there was never an issue with the bathroom being unavailable, plus each suite had wash basins and running water – it was easy and fun!

The next morning, we had coffee and pastries delivered to the suite, and I jumped off at a short stop to get this picture:

It was such a great first part of our adventure. We spent 26 hours on the overnight train from Venice to Budapest, where we were given two days to explore that classic city as well.

Much more to share of our trip, this was just a taste of the amazing adventure ahead – and you can read more about the train by clicking on the company website here:

Let me know what questions you have and I will put answers on the next post!

Categories: Art, Books / Media, Exotic Travel, Food, Memoirs, Movies, Pop Culture, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized

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49 replies

  1. This is great – Mum and I going on the train in May next year, and having this information is really helpful – especially the menu. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Well done John – now I want to make that trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an experience!!! Thanks for taking us along.. And happy anniversary!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a magnificent way to celebrate your 20th Anniversary. Congratulations! I have been exploring Europe by train, but not in this luxurious way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, John!! This looks absolutely amazing and magical. This is something I would absolutely love to do. Happy Anniversary, looks like a fabulous way to spend it

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful way to celebrate your 20th wedding anniversary! Happy anniversary to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That looks incredible. An experience/trip of a lifetime. Happy Anniversary. I just want to say you look great John but your wife of 20 years looks like someone you married when she was in grade school.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Belated wish for your anniversary. What an amazing way of celebration. We have similar vintage rail journey in India too “Palace on Wheels” passing through the palaces, forts of Rajasthan in Royalty. Visited the given website. It shows all sold out till April 2019. You must have bought tickets quite in advance. Great share. Could imagine the magical experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 1st of all belated wishing you Happy Anniversary. Amazing way of celebration!!! And your descriptions are so lively, one can imagine the magical experience. In India also we have majestic train “Palace on Wheels” crossing through the forts and palaces of Rajasthan. Thanks for share.


  10. What a lovely and memorable way to celebrate your anniversary!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Never realized that oriental express existed in real life. Gorgeous pics and a post filled with love.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow, John, this looks so amazing. I didn’t actually realise the Orient Express was a real train. I just reviewed Agatha Christie’s book Murder on the Oriental Express this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. John!! This looks amazing!! Thanks for sharing! Need to add this to my bucket list now 🙂 So happy you’re enjoying!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What a wonderful trip John! Looking forward to following along on this great adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Belated Anniversary congratulations to you and your lovely wife.
    I am suitably envious of that trip. The closest I got was when I was an EMT, and had to board the train at a London station, to take off a man who had suffered a heart attack. His wife was in tears, as she had looked forward to the trip all her adult life! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Happy 20th anniversary, John. Mine is coming next year and you’ve give me a great idea. Train travel is one of the few ways I have to travel without motion sickness. Thanks so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. OMG!! A trip of a lifetime. Happy Anniversary to you and your lovely wife. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Great post John….and lovely snaps…..going through the entire post was like travelling on the train itself……I am pretty excited to see The Orient Express in all it’s glory…..we have some similar vintage classics here in India too taking cross country trips across the land of forts and palaces across the great Rajasthan desert….:)….

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Fabulous post, full of the history and elegance of the Orient Express. Happy Anniversary to you both, what a great way to celebrate!

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Welcome To Venice! Arriving By Boat To The World’s Most Magical Floating City! – johnrieber
  2. The Orient Express Train “Steams” Into Budapest! Unique Engine Powers Us To Hungary! – johnrieber
  3. Venice Italy’s Legendary Hidden Bookstore! Climb The Books At Libreria Acqua Alta! Explore Undiscovered Venice! – johnrieber
  4. Changing Of The Guard At Hungary’s Parliament In Budapest! – johnrieber
  5. Dining On The Orient Express Train! Our Anniversary Meal – And Bar Car Party! – johnrieber
  6. My “Travel Challenge” Day #7 Boards The Legendary Venice Simplon Orient Express Train! My Disastrous Budapest Arrival Video! – johnrieber
  7. Exploring The World – By Train! From Tibet To Siberia! Riding The Orient Express! – johnrieber

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