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!)
Oh my! The Trans-Siberian railway? There is no stopping you, is there! The photos are beautifully done and the train looks even more beautiful! What a way to spend a holiday! Glad you two are having fun!
Mr Soapbox read this blog last night, suffice it to say that when he got to the part about the Trans-Siberian railway he was NOT amused!
Finally! It sounds so lovely but I am trying to picture Mr Soapbox comfortable in the teeny bunk….enjoy every crystal moment!
Liane, we enjoyed every “crystal” moment including the detour through Dover (we saw the White Cliffs). At Calais we transferred on to busses which would take us through the Chunnel and drop us off at the British Pullman train for the final leg of the journey. Somehow the third bus in our convoy missed the Chunnel departure time so we killed 30 minutes driving around the British countryside. I saw two rabbits and a fox gambolling under a hedgerow. Mr Soapbox saw a sheep.
I am speechless. Hope you are having a wonderful time but just remember that it was the clackity clack of the wheels on the tracks that hid the sound of her screams in the night…..and then she was dead.
Rose, funny that you should mention the clackity clack of the wheels, around 6 a.m. we passed through a horrendous rain storm. The rain was pelting down so hard it sounded like hail, the train screeched on its tracks, I remember thinking someone could bump off the passengers on either side of our cabin and I’d be none the wiser. See what happens when you watch too much Hercule Poirot!
This is just too cute. I hope you survive this trip.
I understand your problems with getting on the right trains.
I have the same problems with buses.
It’s useful to have landmarks when you board (I use the McDonalds).
Please keep us posted on the other guests and if murder is committed.
Julie, landmarks are a very good idea. My problem is I see an open door and I just hop in. Thank god for kindly locals who recognize our distress and save us from our overly enthusiastic selves!
In your travels, should you talk to people about the Russian takeover of Ukraine, please comment.
Myakula, I hadn’t thought of this until you raised it, but no one in the Czech Republic said anything about the Russia/Ukraine situation, but they’re all really steamed about the EU. They see no value in participating and think all it produces is bureaucratic headaches. For example, they have been ordered to slow down their escalators because they’re too fast. They ARE fast but surely the EU has better things to focus on!
Guess it is time for Mr. Soapbox to weigh in and clarify a few factoids. The chatter about the train went on for about 20 years, which meant one of us conveniently forgot about previous train travails, not withstanding the German border scare. I still have less than pleasant memories of traversing Canada via coach (sitting up for 5 days) few times.
I also would like to clarify that I do indeed own a tux but it is quite a heavy cloth(appears to a be a winter version if there is such an animal). However my poor cumberbund suffered some indignities whilst stored in the closet and appears to have been shrunk and even a cinching rachet could not close the gap.
While I was able to actually to fit length wise in the bunk, sitting up abruptly introduced some bold marks on the “dome”. The thought of doing Russia is just plain goofy, but for those of you know Mrs Soapbox, she is not easily deterred. However there is another option that the O-E has talked about; a trip through Southeast Asia in aid of tigers as a charitable venture. However I need some recuperative time to get my ankles repaired from the cobblestones of Prague and my knees re-stabilized from the rollicking motion of this last train trip. Suspect it might take 20+ years.
Any encouragement to shift the focus of Ms. Soapbox travel modes would be greatly appreciated.
Mr Soapbox looked positively dashing in his dark suit and it only took him a day to get his sea (land?) legs back once we reached London. He’s steaming around town like a man on a mission! We love London!
Susan this trip looks absolutely amazing. I used to read Agatha Christie and the Orient Express looks exactly like I had imagined it. We never got to see your black dress. I would definitely like to sketch one or two of your pictures. Have a great time on the rest of your travels with Mr. Soapbox. Cheers. Joanna
As Mr Soapbox will attest, Ms Soapbox is camera shy. While it is true that she and her little black dress were draped over the piano in a becoming manner she quickly dodged behind the steward when Mr Soapbox pulled his camera out of his pocket!
Sounds to me mr and mrs soapbox need a another couple to do the trans Siberian railroad with.
Brilliant idea Mike!