April 9, 2008

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo

Lately I've been reading an inordinate amount of books on trains due to a certain little man's keen interest in anything having to do with steam engines, cabooses and bells & whistles. Of course, I'm talking about my son who is not even three and yet can recite much of "The Little Engine That Could" on his own. The latest train book we have on loan from the library is called "Chugga Chugga Choo Choo," a very cute book, by the way! Suffice it to say, trains on the brain led my train of thought to the Orient Express, which I thought would be fun and interesting to post about.

The Orient Express calls to mind a period of time when travel was still very much a luxury limited to the wealthy and privileged. Launched in 1883 and officially christened in 1891, the Orient Express became the world's most famous train, transporting passengers between Paris and Istanbul. In its heyday in the 1930s, the luxury train took three nights to cross Europe and arrive at the gateway to the Middle East -- a journey that inspired romance, intrigue and Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. (source PBS)

Imagine my surprise when I discovered, via a program on the Travel Channel, that the Orient Express was still in existence! I was fascinated by its attempts to recapture that seemingly lost travel experience--the elegance and excitement of the grand adventure! Apparently, such an experience can still be had. . . at a cost. The luxurious interiors alone make it worthwhile, not to mention the exquisite meals and attentive service. By attentive, I mean personal butler!

The vintage decor is so transporting! One can imagine how travel might have been like in those Victorian days or during the turn of the century--sipping tea while sitting in a plush dining car of inlaid wood paneling with real silver and crystal on the tables and looking out the window at the pristine view of the Swiss Alps or French countryside. Ahh, what a dream! If the Orient Express is the train, then I'm all aboard!


Mrs. Jules said...

I think I'll just imagine myself in that luxurious little seat by the window.

Chez Tine said...

c'est un rĂªve que de faire un voyage dans ce train mythique ... on doit en garder des souvenirs inoubliables
Tine de Paris

Jean said...

My sister translated this beautiful comment from chez tine--"It's a dream to make a voyage on this mythical train..One should have unforgettable memories." For those of us who are unfortunate not to know this lovely language.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

I just found your blog from The Simpler Things. I had the opportunity of a lifetime to ride on the Orient Express a year ago from Venice to Paris, yes, DREAMY indeed! I posted about it on my own blog a few months ago.

Great blog here, I'll be back!


Jean said...

Hi Melissa,
What a great privilege! I will have to read about your adventures on this train. It must have been fascinating! Thanks for visiting. I'll be by soon.

All Things Bright and Beautiful... said...

Jean !! I was going to post on this!! But you beat me to it!!

Great post!