Trains Not Bikes

Monday 6 Jan 2020 Stephen hasn’t (quite) forgotten how to write a blog post even though the last one was nearly 18 months ago and left our readers dangling in the US! Sorry if we left you on tenterhooks but we returned home for the funeral of Stephen’s uncle and then “life” got in the way.

Anyway, we off on our travels again! Christine has always hated the British winter (cold, dark, wet, miserable) and aspires to heading off somewhere warmer after Christmas for as long as she can get away with. Last year she surprised Stephen with an 8 week trip to the Middle East and The Maldives to celebrate his big Six Oh. This year the plan was a bit more modest – a train trip to Sicily, perhaps with a side trip on the ferry to Malta or even Tunisia thrown in.

As soon as the cheap Eurostar tickets came available in October Christine was on the computer booking us in to Paris and then trains down to Rome via Milan. The planning then ground to a halt while we waited for Italian railways to get their cheap tickets to the south sorted and Christmas got in the way.

However, over the festive period we received an email saying that because of the strike action being taken by French railway workers (plus ça change…..) our sleeper train from Paris to Milan was cancelled. This prompted a furious tapping of the keyboard to find out how we could get out of Paris and on to Italy. 

The costs started to mount up and then a suggestion was made that it might be cheaper to do it with an Interrail ticket. This seemed like a good idea but then it occurred to Christine that we could perhaps go further afield with such a flexible ticket. In fact we could relive our student days! So she leapt into her favourite website (www.seat61.com) investigating how to reach Istanbul by train.

And that’s where we’re going. Due to technical reasons (I’m not going to explain but “cockup” may be involved!) we are not leaving today as originally intended when Sicily was our destination but are off tomorrow. This has given us a chance to do the packing in a slightly more measured fashion (but we’ll still find we have forgotten something inevitably) and let Stephen go on his usual Monday morning bike ride with the U3A.

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