First intl train ride: Paris - Luxembourg
Last intl train ride: Copenhagen - Malmo (20 minutes!)
Longest train ride: Belgrade-Sofia in 2003 (14 hours!)
Favourites: Bern-Lyon; London-Inverness sleeper; Paris-Rome sleeper
Fave station: Antwerp
I'm not sure if that Belgrade-Sofia train trip was chronologically the longest, but it *felt* the longest, because I thought it would be a few hours, as my pre-1999 travel guide suggested. Neither it nor the ticket lady mentioned what the NATO bombing did to the bridges...
...I had been in Belgrade to cover the assassination of Zoran Dindic, and needed to pop over to Bulgaria to see what the Americans were doing there semi-secretly w/r/t Iraq; I had a briefing. Flights were scarce. Why not take the train! So I bought a $20 ticket and hopped aboard
...after about 5 hours it was apparent that this, the only train, was far from an express train, when it stopped at a siding and a couple guys brought two goats and some chickens into our car. We had no common languages. There was no phone signal & data didn't exist then...
...After 14 hours wending through Balkan valleys overnight, on a hard wooden bench with various animals and people around, I decamped in Sofia and went straight to the embassy for the briefing, neither looking nor smelling very credible. The Yanks were nice and gave me coffee.
Today, as far as I know, there is no longer ANY trains between Belgrade and Sofia, so I might have reached the end of the line in several respects
PS -- I should have added to "favourite journeys" the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed, which is mostly on very high elevated pillars so you get a *spectacular* view of Chinese countryside and historic towns. Not to be missed
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