It really is quite a short story, but one with some nice surprises.
The trip back to London was to be accompanied by a glass of champagne and a four course dinner with half a bottle of wine each. We’d been asked to pick our wine earlier in the day, so on boarding the train it was waiting on our table, nicely chilled to wait for us to finish our welcome glass of Champagne and canapes (the same canapes we met the chef assembling in part one)
While we were quaffing what we believed to be our only bubbly treat for the trip a very pleasant and unexpected surprise arrived…..
Hell yes, a whole bottle of Champagne, courtesy of the Train Manager, for our “efforts in dressing”.
Now, it’s not often you win best dressed on the Orient Express, so we were very touched by the gesture, and quite keen to get stuck in!
Dinner consisted of soup, pork belly and loin of pork with vegetables, a hell of a cheese board and trifle, with little chocolates and coffee to follow. All of that, of course, described far better on the menu.
What you can’t quite get from that photograph is the hilarious angle of the soup, which came around just as we were going round a long bend. So I’m going to share an extra soup photo. Aren’t you lucky.
Claire and I were seated on a 2 seater table, so during the meal we got chatting to the couple next to us. It turned out the trip for them was a gift to celebrate her 80th birthday the year before. They said they’d had a wonderful trip, and apparently our excessive over excitement was fine. They were really interesting to talk to, and shared some reminisces about their experiences in the war and when they started “courting”. I didn’t get their names, but the woman was impeccably dressed in a black dress and fishnet tights with a big red shawl. Please let me be that elegant at 80.
After dinner the Head Steward suggested that we could turn our chairs round and create an almost living room arrangement so we could all talk together. Chairs that move seemed a genius suggestion (I mentioned the extra Champagne, yes?) and we passed the last hour or so on the train in a happy, slightly wine fuzzy, haze of laughs and a growing sadness that the trip would soon be over.
Although this was a press trip, at no point did I think that I wouldn’t have been willing to pay the £475 fare for it. In fact, I even sat and totted up the cost of all the individual elements. A walk up train ticket, entrance to the SS Great Britain and an average priced breakfast and dinner would easily cost around £250.The train ticket alone could be £179 for peak travel on terrible train with graffiti on the windows and no guarantee of a seat. It’s obviously pricey, but, it’s the Orient Express. You don’t really want it to be cheap. The food was delicious, the staff polite (I do like being called Ma’am) but also very friendly and willing to chat and have a bit of fun, and, at the end of the day, we were on the ORIENT EXPRESS!
This really is a trip worth saving up for a special occasion,the tickets even come in little embossed leather folders that you get to keep forever.
Frankly, after a day like this, reality is always going to be a bit of a let down. Yet I survived the tube, and the last leg of my journey home with a bottle of water and a can of Whisky and Ginger.
But I don’t want to leave this post on such a depressing note. So I shall leave with a couple more of my favourite photos from a wonderful day out. Many of the photos in this post are courtesy of Claire Pursglove.
If you’d like to find our more about the Orient Express British Pullman and the trips they offer, and you really should, then you can visit the Orient Express Website.