The Orient Express
The remake of an old movie has just come out called, “Murder On The Orient Express”. It is based on a book written by Agatha Christie whose name, as you all know we feel sure, is synonymous with the best murder mysteries. It is a very well done flick and well worth the price of admission.
Because everyone is talking about the movie, we thought it would be fun to pass along a bit about the actual train, the grandest, most luxurious, Orient Express.
Apparently, train travel in Europe in the mid- to late-1800’s was only for the very rich and, even at that, was dirty and not at all enjoyable. But this was about to change.
Whilst visiting America, a gentleman by the name of George Nagelmackers, who was from a wealthy Belgium banking family, saw how very much better train travel was in this country. George Pullman had designed these wonderful trains and the American people were thoroughly enjoying traveling on them. The staff was very helpful and the trains offered a level of comfort not known in Europe.
Belgian George approached American George thinking that they could have a great partnership and take the concept to Europe but American George did not like the idea.
So, back to Europe went Mr. Nagelmackers convinced that he would create a much better, much more luxurious train concept in Europe. So create he did. His train would take passengers from Paris to Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the height of luxury and not stop at country borders. King Leopold of Belgium was a railroad enthusiast with “a lot of pull” in Europe. He was also a friend of the Nagelmackers family. With his help, George was able to get permission to go from country to country with no stopping.
This train was like nothing anyone had ever experienced. The passengers were treated like royalty (and, quite honestly, probably a lot of them were royalty) eating the best foods from around the world, enjoying the company of the very upper crust of Europe and having their every need taken care of. They certainly knew that they were in the midst of luxury as they put their heads down on the silk sheets at night. Yes, quite the experience, we feel sure.
Although never actually going all the way to the Orient, the train was dubbed the “Orient Express” and made its first voyage in 1883. The last time this train ran was in 1977.
Since then, another rather wonderful train has made its way onto the tracks. This one can take you in much the same luxury from London to Venice: the Venice Simplon Orient Express. Anyone who we have known who has taken it has raved about its authenticity and has loved being transported back to the graciousness of yesteryear.
Oh what fun! And, yes, do go to see the film – it is a goodie!