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
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!!
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