Vienna to Istanbul by Train

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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul
July 31st 2010
Published: August 2nd 2010
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Our experience taking the train from Vienna to Istanbul was a memorable one. We followed part of the traditional Orient Express route via Budapest, Belgrade and Sofia on two trains over three days.

Here are some highlights/lowlights:

* 😊 2 bed berth
* 😊 Getting to sleep on the bottom bunk (Jordan was on the upper bunk)
* 😊 Drinking wine (in wine glasses, from Vienna) & eating sausage, cheese and bread for supper - both nights
* 😞 Border/passport control stops that were often in middle of the night that we needed to wake up for.
* 😞 Sudden stopping, loud breaking screeches
* 😞 Feeling hot, sweaty, and sticky during the day and getting no air blowing through because for unknown reasons we are stopped on the tracks.
* 😊 Hanging head out the windows for fresh air
* 😊 Figuring out a way to keep our window open (use of carabineer)
* 😞 Changing trains in Sofia - very challenging, kind of like the Amazing Race.
* 😊 Not getting scammed by the guys that tried to “help” us reserve our sleeper berth for 40 Euro each (actual cost = 15 Euro).
* 😞 Turkish visa
Loaded downLoaded downLoaded down

Waiting for our train at the Westbahnhof train station in Vienna.
for Canadians is $60, for everyone else it’s $20-$40.
* 😞 Standing in line to get passport stamped at Turkish border at 3am.
* 😊 Hearing the call to prayer for the first time at the Turkish border at 5am. Brings back memories of Morocco, Mali, and Egypt etc. We’re back in a Muslim country.
* 😞 Arriving in Istanbul and walking to our hotel with heavy packs in temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius (feels like 41 with the humidity)
* 😊 The total train experience AWESOME!!

Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


Sleeping berthSleeping berth
Sleeping berth

Our home for the next 3 days.
Narrow hallwayNarrow hallway
Narrow hallway

Our bags are so big we could barely fit.
Turkey borderTurkey border
Turkey border

At 3am...

Using the down-time to do a little research on Istanbul.

Pretty sure everything just goes straight through onto the tracks...flush did not work.
Fresh airFresh air
Fresh air

It was so hot and stuffy on the train (no A/C), so this was the best relief from the heat.
Dinner timeDinner time
Dinner time

Sausage, cheese, buns and (of course) wine. No resaurant car means that we had to stock up in Vienna.
Final leg on the busFinal leg on the bus
Final leg on the bus

The last hour of the journey had to be completed by bus due to flood damage on the train tracks.

2nd August 2010

Feeling very jealous ....
..... I can't believe you are off on another big trip so soon! Shame we can't join you again on this one. Have a fab time, congrats on getting married and I look forward to following the blog. Take care, Byron
2nd August 2010

WOW! What a ride!
Great to see you are having a great time! Thanks for all the great pictures, I feel like I am there...sort of...except for the early morning wake ups!! That is tough..reminds me of my life as a flight attendant!! Looking forward to your next blog, all the best and safe travels!
2nd August 2010

Love the pictures and the updates. Sounds like you guys are having a wonderful time. I can't wait to read your next update!
3rd August 2010

Great start
Glad to see you got away OK, sometimes that is the biggest challenge. I'm looking forward (immensely) to your blogs. Keep Safe and Have Fun Paul
4th March 2013

Thanks, All notes were useful for me.

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