Let’s go expressly oriental, Enjoy!

Have you ever thought or dreamt of boarding a train to reach the utmost areas, exotic regions, going all the way to the end of the world? Let us go back in time before the golden age of aviation. It sounds like it maybe was more common back in these days to sign up for a journey that would last several days in a row. Are you willing to get a glimpse of overnight railways? So ready, steady…Go!

Let us start as a foreword with one particular train connection, in a way the flagship of railways: the well-known Orient-Express. This crime-appealing luxurious train is in a way the quintessence, the ultimate symbol of long-distance train travel with an atmosphere filled with mystery. Here, we are talking about the first-class kind of adventure. Aren’t you keen to become the new Hercule Poirot and step into the mysterious atmosphere of the novel Murder on the Orient Express written by talented author Agatha Christie? The website The man in seat 61 enlightens us with in-depth insights, such as: “On December 12, 2009, EuroNight sleeper train 469 Orient Express left Strasbourg on its final overnight run to Vienna, and on December 13 the name Orient Express disappeared from the official European timetables after 126 years.” Then, we surprisingly learn through this same source a stunning piece of information cited below:

Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express isn’t set on the Orient Express, it’s set on the Simplon Orient Express.  By the 1920s and 30s, there was a whole inter-connecting network of Wagons-Lits Company trains with Orient Express as part of their name in addition to the Orient Express itself.  The Orient Express has always run from Paris Gare de l’Est via München – Munich, Wien – Vienna & Budapest, whereas the Simplon Orient Express started running in April 1919, taking a Southerly route from Calais and Paris Gare de Lyon to Milano, Venezia, Trieste, Zagreb, Београд- Belgrade, София -Sofia, and Istanbul, with a portion for Αθήνα- Athens.  In the 1920s and 30s, the Simplon Orient Express linked Calais, Paris, and Istanbul every day, whereas the (plain) Orient Express only carried Paris-Istanbul cars three times a week, although both Orient and Simplon Orient would have been one combined train east of Belgrade.” (The man in seat 61)

This journey back in time can also be put into perspective by the recent revival of overnight trains in Europe, as tackled in several posts of the Mediapart blog Oui au train de nuit. For instance, Germany recently introduced the initiative “​Trans-Europ-Express 2.0”. Actually, Austria spearheaded this tidal wave in replenishing this means of transportation, through the strategies implemented by the ÖsterreichischeBundesbahnen. France and Switzerland are also taking part in this initiative. The initiatives for the near future are now designed to directly connect Paris and Zagreb. Can you imagine? You start your journey in the allegedly plus belle ville du monde (most beautiful city worldwide) to end it in wonderful  Western Balkans. Isn’t it genuinely marvelous?

It is my belief being on the move allows you to gain a new perspective on your daily businesses. This new spot favorable to thinking and contemplationdefinitely provides you with a fresh look and more depth into your daily businesses. Furthermore, I find it actually quite fascinating to cross borders through railways. In my opinion, such commuting demonstrates the beautifulness of overcoming challenges set by cooperating among various working cultures with their own singularities. Harnessing the richness and potential of connecting people beyond their citizenship is for sure an objective worth striving for with the utmost dedication. For instance, don’t you think it is both equally fascinating and wonderful to board a train either in Paris or Nice to eventually end up in Москва – Moscow? Also, it is very much enjoyable to harness the potential offered by the Semester ticket which comes with student enrollment at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, located in Niedersachsen (Germany).

Previously, I had the fabulous opportunity of traveling through Switzerland and Italy, between Basel and Milano as explained by the website Rail Europe: “Once in Italy, the train cuts through a corner of Piemonte with marvelous views of Lago Maggiore on the left before dropping gently down to the plains of Lombardia and Milano. All in all, a route with some good views of Alpine scenery, but few serious close encounters with the hills.”
Before this trip, I had the chance to travel from Edinburgh to Mallaig, the gateway to the Isle of Skye. This journey into the Scottish wild offers you another vision of this beautiful United Kingdom.

So, in a nutshell, as we say in downtown Скопје – Skopje: Уживај (no worries & enjoy)!

Jules Striffler

– Photo by Johannes Rapprich from Pexels
– Photo by Nick Collins from Pexels
– Photo by Finn Pietsch from Pexels


1. Raileurope.com. 2021. Basel To Milan By Train | Buy Tickets From £33.00 | Rail Europe. [online] Available at: <https://www.raileurope.com/en/destinations/basel-milan-train>

2. Editors, Encyclopedia Britannica. 2021. Orient-Express | Train. [online] Available at: <https://www.britannica.com/topic/Orient-Express>

3. Smith, M., 2021. A History Of The Orient Express – The Truth Behind The Legend…. [online] Seat61.com. Available at: <https://www.seat61.com/history-of-the-orient-express.htm>

4.Ouiautraindenuit Les trains de nuit : une mobilité d’avenir, 2020. L’Allemagne Propose De Relancer 8 Trains De Nuit Trans-Européens. [online] Club de Mediapart. Available at: <https://blogs.mediapart.fr/ouiautraindenuit/blog/061220/l-allemagne-propose-de-relancer-8-trains-de-nuit-trans-europeens>

5. Oui au train de nuit. 2021. “Les Pays De L’Est Sont Moteurs De La Renaissance Des Trains De Nuit“[online]. Club De Mediapart. <https://blogs.mediapart.fr/ouiautraindenuit/blog/180121/les-pays-de-l-est-sont-moteurs-de-la-renaissance-des-trains-de-nuit>

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