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!