Dennis Coombs

Mysterious Orient Express

Dennis Coombs
Mysterious Orient Express

The Route of the Orient Express 14th May – 28th May 2011

A holiday entitled “Route of the Orient Express.” What would it entail? What might happen? As we left St Pancras I was soon surveying my fellow passengers. Eleven of us. Was that ominous? Were we missing one already?

The long journey to the vibrant city of Nice was fast and uneventful. Nicknamed “Nice the beautiful” it is believed to be among the oldest human settlements in Europe. We were soon enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Riviera, including its wide beaches, lively markets and ancient streets.Next stop was Venice, the “City of Bridges,” that was a major power during the middle ages and is still stunningly beautiful. Yet at the same time this is a sad city, full of tourists and the people serving them, but its own population deserting and its buildings crumbling. We had two days to explore the various islands and their everlasting twists and turns, around which there was always something new that captivated. I had almost forgotten to expect the unexpected when we were joined by a twelfth person. Was this part of the mystery?Beverly said she was a travel journalist. Perhaps she was. But she reminded me of the soviet agent who tried to get the crystal skull from Indiana Jones. What did it mean?

We travelled on to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Unravished by time, this beautiful city has a traffic free centre that allows it to breathe. And a short bus ride takes you to Lake Bled and its serene Alpine scenery. Beverly joined us on foot for the circumnavigation, making copious notes alongside taking photographs. What was she up to?