This is the Orient Express…well not the original Orient Express with service from Paris to Vienna and the Balkans or its successor that travelled from Strasbourg to Vienna. Those trains are long gone. This is the Venice-Simplon Orient Express and Mr and Ms Soapbox are on board at this very moment!
Much to Mr Soapbox’s dismay ever since Ms Soapbox saw a documentary by David Suchet (the best Hercule Poirot ever) about his trip on the Orient Express, she’s had her heart set on travelling on this beautiful train.
Mr Soapbox considered letting his darling wife make the trip alone but she has an unnerving habit of leaping on to trains without fully understanding where they’re going. On a recent trip to Denmark Ms Soapbox embarked on a train destined for Hamburg—she was trying to catch a train heading to Roskilde, a tiny Viking village just outside of Copenhagen. A kindly Danish businessman got the Soapboxes off the train just before they crossed the border into Germany and caused an international incident for traveling without their passports (don’t ask!)
David Suchet (did I mention he is the best Poirot ever) took the Orient Express from Calais to Venice and Prague. Mr and Ms Soapbox are travelling in the opposite direction, having started in Prague and heading north to London.
Like Mr Suchet, they are in awe of their luxurious surroundings—the Lalique crystal and rare wood fittings in their tiny sleeping car, the 5-star meals created in the miniscule (and incredibly hot) kitchen, round the clock steward service and the rag-tag assortment of passengers.
This evening Ms Soapbox will put on her little black dress and Mr Soapbox will don a dark suit (he refused to buy a tux). They’ll drape themselves over the baby grand piano in the bar car, toss back a few G&Ts and then head to the dining car for a sumptuous meal. Later they’ll curl up in their teeny but well appointed sleeping car and alight, fresh as daisies, the next afternoon in London.
The entire experience will fade like a dream and assuming she’s not inconveniently murdered en route Ms Soapbox will begin planning her next train trip on the Транссибирская магистраль, also known as the Trans-Siberian Railway.
(Please don’t tell Mr Soapbox. It’s a surprise!)