The Perfect Train

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Public transportation has a bad rep in Holland. There’s an intricate system of busses, trams, metros, trains, and ferries which, in theory, can take you anywhere in Holland. We’ve got these new public transport “credit cards” so you don’t have to buy different tickets for each method of travel.

It’s a pretty cool system, but unfortunately it’s not a faultless one (and considering I live in the country of complainers you definitely know when people aren’t happy with the system!)

I take a bus-train-tram combination to work every day. While running for the bus, getting caught between train doors, and getting my heels stuck in cobblestone streets gets my heart racing, public transportation isn’t exactly exciting to me anymore. A train is a train and the only time it’s a good train is when there’s a seat available. Preferably one not next to a sweaty man or screaming baby.

Until Friday: The Venice Simplon Orient-Express was right there, waiting to depart from my usual platform – the PA lady made an announcement that my regular train was departing from a different platform and I swear I heard her sneer. Sorry Amanda, no fancy train for you today! Ha!

She couldn’t have known that I absolutely adore anything old-timey and fancy. I love the air of luxury and exclusivity that surrounds it. How exciting to be a 1920’s lady, with poise and grace rarely found in our society today, about to set off on a grand European adventure.

Through the window of my modern train, I caught a peek at the beauty of this elegant old train.

Gold lettering and finishing contrasting on navy blue cars, a pristine white roof.  Inside, beautiful plush carriages (with wash basins; they didn’t have showers on trains in the 1920s!), fine china and crystal and starched linen table cloths in the dining room. Staff all dressed in beautiful suits. An excited buzz.

Oh, to be part of that world! To step back in time, all grand and luxurious, gently swaying back and forth as the tain rolls through Europe, dining on exquisite food, catered to hand and foot, taking in all the beautiful scenery. Sigh.

Amsterdam is not a usual destination for The Venice Simplon Orient-Express, so I was surprised to see it and how much media coverage there was.  Later I found out it was the first trip ever to depart from Amsterdam Central Station!

Should you be inspired to book know that most journeys are overnight trips, including lunches, dinners, aperitifs and tea. Plus dress codes for each occasion. And tickets are a lot more expensive than your regular train fare!

This is clearly a case in which the journey is the destination, but what a journey!

Perhaps one day Amsterdam will be a regular stop for the Orient-Express? And hopefully I’ll have enough money in my piggy bank to go!

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