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Published on the first day of the year 1934, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express follows the exploits of private detective extraordinaire Hercule Poirot as he solves a murder mystery aboard the train. But the book isn’t set on the actual Orient Express, a EuroNight sleeper car train that ran for 126 years until 2009. Instead, it is set on the special luxury train Simplon Orient Express, which originally ran from 1883 to 1977 and was then restored and put back to service. Privately run, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express follows a route very different from the one in the novel and its adaptations. Here is a look at the route of the fateful train where Poirot solved one of his most famous cases. Also Read - Joe Biden Vows to Hold Riyadh Accountable After Khashoggi Report Released
Hercule Poirot catches the Orient Express at Istanbul, the starting point of the luxury train. Istanbul, of course, needs no introduction. The capital city of Turkey is a microcosm of the country’s culture and a rather unique blend of Europe and the Middle East. And while it is called Istanbul, not Constantinople, it still has plenty of remnants of its history, well-preserved for all to see and experience. Also Read - Salman Khan's Tiger 3 Shooting Delayed Due to Rising COVID Cases in The UAE? Read on
Next, we arrive in the Bulgarian capital city of Sofia, although you’d be hard-pressed to find a capital city as relaxed and unhurried as this one. Nestled under the Vitosha mountain, Sofia (pronounced with a stress on the ‘O’ instead of the ‘I’) has modern buildings with some ancient Ottoman mosques, Red Army monuments and Roman ruins. But there’s no hustle here; you can just unwind and experience Sofia and its museums, restaurants, clubs and hiking trails at your own pace.
The Orient Express then makes its way to our third capital, Belgrade. This one doesn’t have the polish of other capital cities; Belgrade is fast-paced and chaotic to the point where it can be overwhelming. The Serbian capital perfectly encapsulates the rise of the country itself, and travellers will find themselves drawn to the old world by day and the modern clubs and restaurants by night. In between, there are coffee shops, historic buildings and museums to visit.
Croatian National Theater, Zagreb
Next up is Zagreb, the capital of Croatia showcasing the best of the country’s cuisine, architecture, music and culture. Zagreb’s 18th and 19th century Austro-Hungarian architecture immediately catches attention and gives the city a unique vibe. Plus, there are beautiful beaches. Walk along the cobbled city streets and visit the museums and theaters of the city, or take a dip in nearby Jarun Lake.
The Grand Canal in Trieste
The Orient Express also makes its way through the Northeast Italian city of Trieste. During the Austrian-Hungarian rule, Trieste was a powerful city with a thriving art and political scene. But most travellers prefer to head to the more popular cities of Milan and Rome nearby. We urge you to visit this city though, for its picturesque sea view, beautiful architecture and Eastern European culture, and its cafes and pubs.
Venice, the City of Love, really needs no introduction. Its ancient canals, romantic little boat rides and charming buildings instantly come to mind when you think of the city. In fact, the city is popular to the point that it is hurting the economics and geography of the region. Still, it remains a dream destination for many.
The Orient Express would then travel to Milan, Italy’s most important city and a treasure trove of architecture, fashion and culture. It is also, in its modern avatar, a thriving business capital. But travelers here would be drawn to the larger-than-life architecture that survived the World War II raids like the Duomo cathedral and the La Scala opera house, the shops and the nightlife.
The Paris-Gare-de-Lyon station that the Orient Express would pull into is a sight in itself. Built in 1900, the station is massive and its architecture is reminiscent of Big Ben and the UK Houses of Parliament and, closer to home, the much smaller Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station. And that’s just the station. Enter out and you have Paris, the City of Love. The Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral; need we say more?
Calais City Hall
Finally, the Orient Express would stop at the French port city of Calais, the final intended destination for our hero Hercule Poirot in his journey aboard the train. Will he reach there? You’ll have to watch the movie for that, but we can tell you about Calais a little bit. Just 26 miles from Dover’s white cliffs, Calais is actually visible on a good day from Kent, England. For most, it is a convenient connecting point between England and France. But the city is well worth a few days of exploration.