Venice Simplon Orient Express

Staff member: Ingrid // Trip date: Apr 2007

Venice Simplon Orient Express

After a day wandering around Rome I picked up my luggage from my hotel and walked back to Termini station where I had to attempt to get a train from Termini to Ostiense to meet the Orient Express. This proved a little more difficult than I thought- I was going to just get a regular train service rather than the metro so I lined up for a ticket however the line was so long that by the time I got to the front of the queue I had missed the train and they told me the next one wasn't for an hour and a half. So that was not the best way to get to Ostiense. I then made my way to the metro which was so much easier. A quick 10 minute ride then a two minute walk and I was there.

I was greeted at the front of the station by a group of three ladies in very fancy uniforms and a mini red carpet and check in desk. They knew exactly who I was without me even needing to tell them as by that time I was about 30 minutes late for check in and one of the last people to arrive. But they soon settled my stress levels and asked me which bags I would like in my cabin and which I would like checked in. They then took my bags to deliver them to my cabin on board. The Orient Express does not have its own lounge at Rome Ostiense as the station is so small however they had more than an adequate amount of tables reserved for the VSOE passengers to sit at in the caf← there so we could relax and purchase something to eat and drink if we wanted.
It was soon time to board the train. All the carriages were lettered so it was just a matter of finding the carriage that corresponded with the letter on your boarding pass you are given at check in. I was greeted by my cabin steward as I stepped on board and he introduced himself and showed me to my cabin where he proceeded to show me where all the lights were, how to call for him if I needed him and that he would come back shortly to put my bags up on the shelves once I had taken everything out of them that I might need tonight.

The cabins are of course small as the VSOE is after all still a train but they are beautiful. 1920's original d←cor. A little sink in an enclosed cabinet and you are also provided with a robe and slippers for use on board. There was also everything I could possibly need provided at the sink including face towel, hand towel, soap, toothbrush and paste and two mirrors on either side of the cabinet doors. The room also has a small table with a lamp and some Orient Express reading and writing materials, which you are free to take with you at the end of your journey.
Shortly after settling into my room the head waiter and restaurant manager knocked at my door to find out what time I would prefer to eat dinner. The early or late sitting. I took the late sitting as by that time the early sitting was only twenty minutes away anyway. I then had a little time to get ready and my cabin steward came around again just to check everything was ok and did I need anything.

Dinner started at 9pm and I made my own way down to the restaurant car after a loudspeaker announced it was time to do so.
Dinner was four courses. We were provided with a menu and a choice of sparkling or still water upon arrival at the restaurant car. There was also a wine menu and an A la carte menu you could choose from for an additional cost if you wanted. The waiter came around to check you were ok with everything on the menu and if there is anything you didn't like they would replace it for you.
Tables in the restaurant were in either tables for four or tables for two. Most people traveling were couples and had a table to themselves however you did have a choice that you could share with people if you wanted. I had my own table as the waiter said this was easier when there is a single traveler. However I could have shared if I wanted. I found the restaurant very cosy and it was still very easy to chat to people even though we were not seated at the same table.
At the end of my meal it was almost midnight. The train manager who had been eating dinner at the adjacent table came and introduced himself to me as he knew I was traveling on board and just wasn't sure who I was until the end of the meal.

After leaving the restaurant I went to the bar car further down the train with a couple of other passengers. There was a pianist playing and it was very busy in the bar, almost no seats left. We sat there for a while before people slowly made their way back to the sleeping cabins. When I arrived back at my cabin my bed had been made up by my steward and there was a small box of boiled lollies sitting on my bed with a goodnight coaster. The bed was extremely comfortable to sleep in however the train does stop and start a little bit throughout the night. It was stopped at a station for a few hours so people could get a bit of sleep and at other times it drove for a few hours but once it got to the early hours of the morning there was quite a few times we stopped and started as we had to make way for high speed trains coming past and also keep to the time frame for the train as well.
I woke up before my steward came to wake me. He had taken my breakfast order the night before where I was given a choice of juices, tea or coffee and preferred time for breakfast. The Steward came and asked if I would like my breakfast earlier seeing as I was awake so I did and left the room for a few minutes while he fixed up my bed to turn in back into a sofa so I could sit down.

Breakfast was served in my room before long. Fruit, croissants, rolls, pastries and four different jams and marmalades were served along with a glass of juice and a full thermos of coffee. Before long we were rolling into Venice Santa Lucia station where the steward came to collect our bags and handed them to us as we got off the train.

There was also a welcome party at the station with a red carpet and desk again for those passengers who needed to wait for their checked on luggage to come off the train.
I made my way to the left luggage facilities at the station, which was a room, which two people look after for the day and all the luggage is stored there on shelves in the one room. You are given a coupon to present when you come back to collect your luggage. I had five hours before my next train so I proceeded to head out of the station and straight across the bridge and into central Venice. The luggage storage cost me just under 4 Euros for 5 hours.

Italian International train- Venice- Ljubljana

The train from Venice to Ljubljana was a very small train with only two carriages. No food facilities on board at all and only half a carriage of first class seats. This was not even half full. First class seating was leather seats in group of four around tables and two around tables. The only difference in 2nd class was that the seats were all groups of four and weren't leather. Luggage storage in 1st cl was between seats and in shelves above whereas 2nd class was only shelves above seats or at the end of the carriage.
The train was delayed almost 30 minutes at the border crossing as we had to wait for our passports to be inspected. Upon arrival into Ljubljana I went to the tourist information counter where I was given a free map and shown how to get to my hotel. I then went to the taxi rank outside the front door of the station where I was taken to my hotel.

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