Classic Train Journeys (Orient-Express, Palace on Wheels, Rovos Rail etc)
I posted about this on the Orient-Express thread, but as it's really about classic train journeys in general (not just OE) I thought it deserved its own thread.
Would you be interested in bidding on some of the great classic train journeys if they were offered through LL? Trips like the Palace on Wheels in India, or the classic Orient-Express journeys. I've seen a package or two from Rovos Rail in Africa, which is a start in the right direction.
I'd love to be able to bid on something like the Venice-Istanbul OE trip with stays at LL hotels on either end (Bauer Il Palazzo in Venice and Ciragan Palace in Istanbul). The OE Asian train would be wonderful too, as LL has so many great properties in Asia?
There's something about travelling by train which is so relaxing -- it's an experience in itself, not just a way of getting from point A to point B.
I have never taken a train trip like the Orient Express, but it something that I intend to do. If the one from Venice to Istanbulwould be available this year I would definitly bid on it, since it is also most sure we will be there this summer. I can imagine it to be a great way to visit place to place. I would be open to visiting many places this way.
I was just looking at the O-E website recently....they now have an Orient Express train trip from Venice, up to Krakow and Prague. I think that would be wonderfully romantic, particularly in the winter....although I would then need to bring my fur coats and hat boxes, like in the old movies.
I would also very much like to do the O-E train journey in South East Asia, between Singapore and Thailand. So very colonial....
However, I have never seen the O-E asian hotels or train trips on LL>
Nice to see that I'm not the only one interested in classic train journeys. I've never done one either but it's been something I've been thinking about for a long time. The Venice-Istanbul one would be my top choice, though the Asian OE train runsa close second as does the Palace on Wheels in India:
I am very interested in train trips now, especially Orient Express after having spent a measly 6 hours total on the Hiram Bingham train in Peru - it was heavenly! I'd love to find out what it is like to spend an overnight on such a train. Specifically, I am looking for a trip on the Orient Express in Thailand/Singapore - I believe there are a few different itineraries available and I'd love to see any type of auction package including something along these lines. I'd also love to see it combined with a cruise on OE's Road To Mandalay - again, what an amazing experience that would be.
I've done two overnight train trips, which is partially what got me interested in classic train journeys. One was an overnight train from Berlin to Paris -- quite nice though nothing like the OE trains or the Palace on Wheels as this was a normal European train service. I was amazed by how they managed to fit so much into our little compartment -- two beds (bunks), a sink, and a closet. I was with my sister and she was afraid of falling out of the top bunk so I took it. There were all these straps and chains which were supposed to keep me from falling out but reminded me of something out of a Marquis de Sade novel.
I also took an overnight train from Cairo to Luxor last year. This was an really interesting way to travel -- the train was older than the European one (the decor definitely hadn't been updated since the 1950s) but the compartments were more spacious and there was a more genteel flavour to it, perhaps because it was primarily a train people took for pleasure rather than one that people took to get from point A to point B. This time my sister took the top bunk (minus the straps and chains, as Egypt is decidedly less health-and-safety conscious than the EU) and I took the bottom one. It was dark when we left Cairo, but we watched the sun come up over the fields as we moved towards Luxor which was really magical.
Maybe you could fit the Palace on Wheels into one of your trips to India - it runs from Delhi to Agra.
I'd eyed the information on Palace on Wheels when booking my first trip to India, and it was tempting but didn't work well into our schedule - it looks beautiful and I'll definitely keep it in mind for next time. Of course, if LL offers it now I would certainly be interested!
I took several Eurorail-type overnight trains in my days backpacking through Europe which was always interesting and I agree they are brilliant when it comes to making a tiny little sleeper cabin into a rather comfortable space (the Indian rail service, although not exactly four star, was also quite comfortable in an overnight 1st class cabin.) But it sounds like the Orient Express, Palace on Wheels, etc. train services you are talking about jasher are an entirely different world. Orient Express's Hiram Bingham train in Peru was first class - a beautiful dining car, excellent employee to guest ratio, live music, great food, a lovely bar car and observatory car. If they expand that type of decor, service and food into a live-aboard train I would imagine that the Orient Express train experiences are all pretty amazing. And what a great way to see the countrysides of the various countries we are discussing!
Omegaet, did you take the Hiram Bingham when you were in Peru?
I certianly hope it would be different! Based on the photos I've seen on the Orient-Express website and the websites of some of the other luxury train companies, it would definitely be a different level of experience -- like stepping back in time to a more gracious age. Apparently there are even claw-footed bathtubs in some of the suites, where you can watch the world go by as you soak. Talk about decadent (in an entirely good way)!
The trip I've probably come closest to taking is the Rovos Rail journey from Pretoria (South Africa) to Victoria Falls, on the first leg of what was orginally planned to be a rail line that ran from the Cape to Cairo:
I just noticed Rovos Rail has an auction going on Luxury Link for two nights on the train from Cape Town to Pretoria. Jasher, do you think two nights is enough for the full Rovos Rail experience? These aren't the dates I would want, but what a great find, and hopefully LL will keep bringing them back: