The Nostalgie Istanbul Orient Express – An epic railway story

Sep 13, 12 The Nostalgie Istanbul Orient Express – An epic railway story

If one week vacations to exotic islands or in the heart of the snowy mountains no longer seem appealing to you and you wish for something different, something that will enrich your cultural compass and delight your spirit of adventure, the the legendary and august Orient Express is everything you’ve been looking for and more. The “Nostalgie Istanbul Orient Express”, rightfully called the king of trains and train of kings, is the one Agatha Christie so inconspicuously describes in the famous “Murder on the Orient Express”. But Hercule Poirot was not the only fictional character to ever walk the corridors of the Orient Express, but heroes of Flaubert, Graham Green, Balzac and Musset have found an intriguing harbor on the train.


The Cosmopolitan
clientele of the king of trains was made of ambassadors and spies, English Earls and Turkish merchants, Hungarian Barons and Russian Counts, as well as Hollywood-ean figures like Jean Marais and Marlene Dietrich. Charles de Gaulle tread on the luxurious floors of the train and so did Queen Elisabeth II of United Kingdom and Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, which you may easier recognize as Mata-Hari, as well as princess Grace of Monaco. Having such a various assemble of nobility forego your travel, you can imagine the splendor and sumptuousness of the Orient Express, so get ready to be transposed over times and cultures in luxury and style.

The “Nostalgie Istanbul Orient Express” will provide you with all the comfort of a five stars hotel, having 8 sleeping carriages, all first class, with private compartments that can suit both single and double accommodation. Comfortable saloons, two exquisite dining carriages and gorgeously decorated Pullman and bar with inlaid glass enclosures complete the elegant train and offer passengers the ride of their life. All the original carriages were built at the beginning of the 20th century in several countries of the Western Europe, including France, England, Italy and Belgium. You will get to feel exactly like royalty aboard the Orient Express, pampered by a highly trained and elegant staff, including skilled chefs who will enchant your senses with both European and Russian cuisine.

There are two available tours on board of the “Nostalgie Istanbul Orient Express”, the Moscow-Beijing and the Silk Road, both of which will present you with a mystic East, a unique travel adventure in the true sens of the word, giving you the chance to experience and observe totally different cultures and lands.

From Moscow to Beijing – Two weeks of Eastern enlightening

 

The Moscow-Beijing tour is a classic touristic circuit, with a characteristic signature of distinction and fame, as well as comfort and poise. The route will take you from Russia to China, across Siberia and through Mongolia, overwhelming you with sights and places that no Western culture could ever equal and carrying you through wonderful cities like Moscow,  Ekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Ulan Bator and Beijing.

The train departures from Moscow in the afternoon, after you had plenty of time to accommodate in your carriage and compartment. The restaurant cars will be ready to welcome you aboard with a fantastic dinner and deluxe settings and arrangements. On the second day, you will arrive in Kasan, where you will have the chance to take an extensive city tour and visit the Kremlin, the Governor’s House and the Qol-Sarif mosque, before you will be taken on a thrilling boat ride down the River Volga, in the afternoon. In the evening, the train will slowly blow smoke, leaving for Ekaterinburg.

Here, you will have the whole day for yourself, to explore the city, visit the Cathedral on the Blood, see the obelisk, relax in a cafe or shop, before continuing your way to Novosibirsk, on the 4th day, and passing the virtual border between the two continents. Novosibirsk houses the Russian “ Silicon Valley”, which is a geological museum, while in Krasnoyarsk, the next stop, you will be able to cruise again, this time on the Yenisej. The 6th day is reserved for Irkutsk, which has plenty to offer tourists, starting with the Ethnographical Museum and a tour of the old town and ending with the huge, mesmerizing market. You will have the chance to attend a private classical concert in the evening. The first week will end with the majestic Lake Baikal, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the most voluminous and deepest freshwater lake in the entire world.

 

The 8th day is the last day spent on Russian territory, in the capital of the Buryat Republic, Ulan-Ude, as the next day you will be passing the border to Mongolia and arrive in Ulan-Bator. The capital of Mongolia is an amazing city, where you can visit the the Bogd Khan Museum, the Gandan Monastery and the central Sukhabaatar Square. All passengers of the Orient Express will be delighted with a local dance show in the evening, as well as cultural expose of the country. You will also have the opportunity to shake off the train for one night, as in Ulan-Bator, you will have hotel reservation.

If you are traveling in July, your tour will be extended, as you will spend 1 extra day in Mongolia, in order to assist the astounding “Naadam”, a Buddhist folk festival. After a well deserved overnight rest at the hotel, the tour continues with an excursion to the Mongolian National Park at Terelj. On the 11th day, you will arrive in Erlian and pass the Chinese frontier, at which moment you will disembark the Nostalgie Istanbul Orient Express and board the China Orient Express. Once again, you will be able to spend the night at a hotel, in the city of Datong. The next day, get ready for some pure Chinese culture, as you visit the Nine Dragon Screen and the Yungang Caves, and, in the afternoon, you’ll be on your way to Beijing. You will have the whole next day to explore the wonderful city of Beijing, visiting the Tiananmen Square, the Emperor Palace in the “Forbidden City”, the Temple of Heaven and many, many more. Immerse yourself in the mystery and individuality of this great city, before going to the farewell dinner, set up in one of Beijing’s famous duck restaurants.

On the 14th day, you will be taken to the airport, where arrangements for your flight home have been made. You will be able to return home a richer person, a more upscale and well cultured human being, after having seen and learned so much.

The Moscow-Beijing tour is a fantastic railway journey that few have the sheer luck of experiencing, but all that do come back in awe of the wonders and vintage feeling of what used to be the Far East. If you decide to leave the quick getaways aside for once and take a long journey, away from technology and Western civilization, then, two continents, five thousand miles and seven time zones later, you will surely not regret your decision.