20 June 2011
Family Fun on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
Jeannette Fuller shares the excitement of her family journey aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
As a teenager, I read Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, and since that time I have longed to take a journey on this exotic train. About a year ago I decided it was time to make my dream a reality.
I wanted a wonderful family vacation that could include my 21-month-old granddaughter. I envisaged it as a surprise Christmas present for everyone. And so I began organising a fantastic journey for eight of us - my husband Bill and I, my 84-year-old mother-in-law Mary, her daughter Mimi, my youngest son Grant, my oldest son and his wife, Trey and Annette, and our granddaughter, Gabriela.
When Christmas arrived and the children unwrapped their presents, each found a small travel suitcase. Inside were VSOE shirts (and a teddy bear for Gabriela), a DVD of Murder on the Orient Express, and, last but not least, a map of the proposed journey. They did figure it out!
With the help of our terrific travel agent, Arlene Feen, everything came to fruition this May and we set off from our home in Boca Raton, Florida. The train and the service was exactly as I had imagined it all those years ago. (Maybe even a little better!) I have always loved travelling by train - staring out the window and wondering about the lives of all the people and places as I go whizzing by. Sometimes reality falls short of the promise - but not this time.
The boys didn't even complain about dressing up for the restaurant cars and what fun I had shopping for "formal" attire for my granddaughter, Gabriela. Our biggest concern for her was dinner time. She was, however, a perfect lady throughout every meal. (I must admit we had the help of an iPad.)
Our porter, Rupert, was wonderful with our whole family. He seemed to form a special bond with Gabriela. As soon as we walked down the platform to re-board the train after an excursion in Prague and she saw Rupert, she began running toward him. He scooped her up and I was fortunate enough to be there to snap the photo (pictured above, with my husband Bill Fuller stepping off the train). This trip was all I had hoped for and we had an amazing family adventure!
Thank you for a lifetime memory for our family.
By Jeanette Fuller
How was your journey on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express? Please share your experiences.