I am a confirmed train buff. I would much rather travel on a speeding bullet or puffing vintage train than fly. Of course, I don´t look for any old train. I crave the Great Trains. The trains that make moving from A to B a multi-faceted journey. Trains that become worlds unto themselves; where creatures of prestige and mystery flit from carriage to compartment, dining car to sleeping cabin. One of my favourite trains also happened to be Agatha Christie´s; author of prestige and mystery herself. For some people arriving at a business meeting in a Rolls Royce is bound to impress; in Europe, arriving on the Venice-Simplon Orient Express is sure to attract attention. This week come ride with me on one of the great trains of the world. Do business while riding? Of course, plug in your laptop on this train but be aware – you may get distracted.
It was on the VSOE that I met Madame Boneire who always travels on this train to get from Paris to London. Now you could just zip across the Channel in an hour by ferry or train instead of taking a week to wander around Europe but hey, life is not all business meetings and office politics!
We were dining with the good Madame in the elegant dining car of the Venice-Simplon Orient Express travelling from Venice to Prague and these words were accompanied by the civilized clink of crystal, gleaming china and polished sliver. The beautifully presented dinner plates were deposited in front of us with a smooth flourish that never interrupted our conversation and we would look down to register the presence of a succulent rib steak or the finest brandy snaps. We learnt that she works for the United Nations and Unesco and also travels to "keep up acquaintances.´ This is the sort of character and conversation I imagined reading in a good novel on the Orient Express train and here I was, having it in real life.
Orient Express www.orient-express.com