Orient Express Ceases Operation

Danube Express

After 125 years the original Orient Express service will grind to a halt for good on 12 December when the famous name will disappear from European timetables.  During its heyday in the 1930s, the Orient Express ran between Paris and Istanbul with through coaches from Calais and Ostende for the benefit of UK travellers.  Now the Danube Express will take up this mantle with a variety of journeys offered in May, June and September to and from Istanbul.

Istanbul is set to top travel hot lists next year after being named European Capital of Culture for 2010 and this coincides with the Danube Express’ arrival in the city.  Reviving the Golden Age of rail and waiting to whisk passengers on a relaxed voyage of discovery is the Danube Express’ Istanbul Odyssey, an exotic overland adventure between London and Istanbul. Offering an altogether more civilised method of travel along this route than hitherto with deluxe en suite compartments, the Danube Express is ideal for those in search of a slice of nostalgia.

Read more…

Related Images:

Royal Tokaj Wine Company

There are two drinks for which Hungary is most famed: Unicum and Tokaj. I detest the taste of Unicum. When the King of the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared that it was ‘unicum’ or unique, he was right. Actually, many East European tipples do have a similarly distinctive and herbal taste but this is quite frankly, truly revolting.


Tokaj, on the other hand, is perfectly pleasing. I am not normally a huge fan of dessert wines, but the Royal Tokaj Blue Label from the Royal Tokaji Wine Company 25cl, from Waitrose, £10.99, is by far my preferred choice. I particularly like to enjoy it with plum dumplings, a traditional Hungarian dessert (the recipe of which I will post soon!)

The bottle is small and perfectly formed.The glowing amber tone is beautiful and reminiscent of autumnal leaves; its taste is warm and rich.As I said, this wine is enjoyed with desserts, such as the traditional plum dumpling, and is perfect for cold evenings in.

However, for me, it reminds me of the warm summer morning breeze in Lvov. After arriving at 7 AM on an overnight train from Kiev, having been mugged (not violently thankfully), my travelling companion and I got horribly lost and spent three hours wandering the streets desperately trying to find the main boulevard. At 10 AM we finally reached the main squares and, more importantly, the boulevard which boasts many restaurants serving fantastic Ukrainian cuisine. We settled in a restaurant for a few hours and, looking at each other, believed, despite it being 10 AM, considering our ordeal, it was not too early to begin drinking fortified wine. This particular bottle of Tokaj tastes similar to what I consumed on that day in Lvov and so reminds me of a pleasing, satisfying time, combined with an incredible sense of relief.

Related Images: