Bucharest to Istanbul train

My favourite train so far by a long way. I felt as though I had been moved to first class and was a senior administrator for the Empire heading east to administer a newly-acquired colony. Maybe I had moved to first-class – this train had to be reserved separately through Deutsche Bahn’s UK office (though on the same Inter-Rail pass), and it might have only been a couple of pounds difference between 2nd and 1st. Whatever the cost, it was worth it.

There were three beds, nut I was the only person in the room. The beds were all stacked against one wall, but each slightly different in its design to take best advantage of the space. The whole cabin was wooden, curved, and with brass fittings. It had a sink (hidden under a foldaway table) above which there was a small shelved cupboard with mirror on the door. There were plentiful hooks for jackets, coat hangers supplied, and ingenious netting and brass luggage racks throughout. This couchette felt like a well-designed jewelry box with all kinds of neat latches, sliding and folding features. The toilets were also done in the same style, and I think there was even a shower somewhere.

It was smoky though, and the trains only get smokier the further east you travel. I don’t think there was a dining car, but the manager (Florian) sold drinks if you wanted them, and there were a few stops where you could have bought things. Actually, there were many stops, and each country seemed to have at least two different security checks. And, there were about nine  Romanians/Bulgarians/Turks doing the job of one German conductor.

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