The booking of the Venice-Simplon Orient Express.

I’d convinced Ted to take 6 weeks off work and travel to Europe with friends of ours. He’s never taken 6 weeks as a vacation from work before. He’s very driven and been successful in his finance career. He’s just acquired another business and his mind is in ensuring it’s smooth changing of ownership and bringing together of two smaller business’s to a larger more robust company goes well. He’s a hard worker.

Apart from work he loves trains. He loves the history of the railways and gets excited about watching Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journey as he travels England using Bradshaw’s Continental Railway Guide, a series of timetables and travel guide books initiated by George Bradshaw in 1839 and later the series was continued to be published by W.J Adams of London after Bradshaws death until 1961.

Image from offical website. The iconic blue carriages

A friend bought the book for Ted and he sits and follows it as he watches the program.

He records any cable or free to air shows on trains from the Australian outback rail series to the Alaskan Railways to Michael Portillo. We have traveled overseas on sleeper trains but the Orient Express is at the top of the tree of rail travel.

This Art Deco train is a luxurious . It signifies style, class and romance taking you back to the 1920’s and has been featured in movies and novels, one famously by Agatha Christie’s, Murder on the Orient Express.

It’s the mystery and history that has me hooked, it’s beautifulness I wanted to see and experience with my own eyes. This train reminds me of my polished mum who would’ve fitted in beautifully travelling aboard the orient express.

My mum and I loved the Agatha Christie murder dramas and Murder on the Orient Express stuck in my mind. It went on my bucket list to one day be fortunate enough to travel on this beautiful train adorned with high gloss teak, beautiful upholstery and antique features which had seen many famous people travel on it.

All images from the official website

The Orient Express has been in service for many years and has an interesting history involving different owners and revivals. Since Ted was to be spending his birthday in Europe I enquired about the Orient Express. I thought what a treat it would be spending his sixtieth birthday on the train. It’s insanely expressive but it was something I really wanted to do for him and given it was on my bucket list I booked us on the trip from Venice to London.

This was to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for us. We became excited, in some way I think I was more excited. I think for me this felt like something that would never really happen, just a dream. But since booking it had shifted from a little girls dream to a reality. Since booking it we have watched historical documentaries on it which have been fascinating, I have re watched the 1975 movie of Murder in the Orient Express and every YouTube video I could find.

Here are a few above.

This was going to be a highlight of our trip. One night 2 days travelling from Venice to London. I thought about what I’d wear to dinner and what I’d wear to board the train. I’d researched the dress code. I’d looked at the food, the dining carts. I had tried to gather all the information I could. I was excited to be getting on a taxi boat in Venice and being taken to the railway station. I was excited that we were doing something special, very special.

Image from the history history of the Orient Express

Then the Coronavirus hit. As the days and weeks have passed I have watch that dream of going be taken away with each news report. Italy is now in shut down. In some way it’s better that it happened now and that we aren’t stuck somewhere in quarantine. We have not officially heard the train has been cancelled. We lose all our payment in full if we cancel. But we cannot go on it.

Australia has tightened its travel warnings however this would not affect our re entry to Australia because a quarantine period would be over before our re entry date to Australia but we could be refused entry elsewhere in Europe.

The booking, the feeling of excitement, the you tube videos and documentaries may be as close as I ever get to going on the Venice-Simplon – Orient Express. Sometimes an opportunity can come and go and never come around again. Will we ever get a chance to rebook? Will we ever be so insane to book such an expensive overnight train ride again or will our heads rule our heart and not allow us to justify such extravagance again. Will life take us in a different direction. Will it forever be a dream in my head. This I am afraid may be.

Love Lucy x

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