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Pick # 2 - - A Journey for the Ages

     No two words conjure up as much intrigue, mystery, romance and history as Orient-Express. The famous train began operation in 1883, and after changing hands several times during the years and discontinuing stops - the train no longer makes regular stops in Istanbul, which was the starting point for the Agatha Christie's famous murder mystery, Murder on the Orient Express - the Orient-Express now hotels and resorts as well as the legendary and
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opulent trains.
     Step back in time with vacations lasting from one night to seven nights - or more, depending on your destinations - aboard the Orient-Express and arrive in luxury. Sleeping cabins on the trains offer Old World style, with facilities that feature private bathroom and showers with hot and cold running water, high quality toiletries, and fresh fluffy white towels.
    You can also find dressings tables, full-length wardrobes, hairdryers, individual controlled heating, ceiling fans, opening windows to let in the fresh air and 24/7 cabin service call button. Each bed is furnished with one feather and one foam pillow, feather duvet and
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cotton quilted bed covers.
     Dinner is an event, where men dress in suits and women parade in evening gowns or cocktail dresses.  Afternoon tea is also served and gathering rooms for relaxation or visiting with your fellow passengers are available.  Make sure you bring your dress clothes - this isn't Burger King - and while you can have it your way, you need to have a little class in order to get it.
     Depending on what part of the country you are traveling, the menu will reflect the local cuisine.  In Scotland, your lunch menu selection could consist of chicken and langoustine salad with baby squash and queen scallops - finished off with a bitter chocolate tart with kumquat marmalade. Dinner could include seared scallops with sauce vierge or roast loin of lamb with mushrooms and truffle risotto - with an iced hazelnut parfait with raspberry coulis for dessert. Each train has highly trained chefs and wine stewards to help make your dining experience more memorable.
     Amenities will differ depending on the train you take, and the length you stay aboard. Currently, the Orient-Express runs fives separate trains - no two are alike - with 18 stations across the world.  Trips spanning Asia last almost two weeks, and day or week-long journeys in Scotland, England and Peru are also available.
     Each trip can be customized to individual needs. Just married or celebrating an anniversary or birthday? Let the staff at Orient-Express know, and special arrangements can
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be made. They act as your personal concierge and will do everything within their power to make sure your trip is as enjoyable as possible.
      Orient-Express offers not only train journeys, but the company offers accommodations in some of the best hotels in the world - including The Grand Hotel Timeo.  The company can also arrange visits to some of the most exclusive restaurants - including the '21' Club in New York City - plus safaris in Botswana, riverboat journeys in France and Myanmar, and much, much more.
     But the all this exclusivity comes at a hefty price. Some journeys are close to $15,000 per person, but include everything you could hope for or want from the historic and legendary Orient-Express.  For more information about Orient-Express trains, hotels, restaurants and vacations packages, visit their website at www.Orient-Express.com.

Nick Manix is a professional writer and journalist who splits his time between Central Texas and New Orleans, and is an avid supporter of charities - including The Hill Country Ride, SPCA, Raising Malawi and Amnesty International

(Photos courtesy Orient-Express Hotels Ltd.)


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