Articles

Romania – Part 1

Romania – Part 1

The eyes in the roofs watched us as we walked out from Sibiu rail station down the straight road, slipping on the icy slush. The car exhausts misting up further the cold grey morning air. The eyes watched as we stopped at an open window of a patiserii to get a breakfast bun – a […]

Read More

Budapest

Budapest

But perhaps we had taken too long on the train? We arrived in Budapest and it felt just like the closing moments of some huge overture – as pulling into a great city should really always feel. But stepping down from the panting Polish sleeper train into the vast Keleti station in the early morning […]

Read More

Krakow – Auschwitz

Krakow – Auschwitz

Prague again. Arriving at ten past three. We had slept the sleep of the dead on the train up from Vienna, and now had to bundle our groggy selves back to the Vysočany suburb and up 9 stories of brutal ex-Communist architecture to the warm waiting home of the Greek-Czechs. Despite us crashing in on […]

Read More

Vienna – Bratislava

Vienna – Bratislava

Vienna, sometime before midnight. Out of the train station – burning behind us like a bonfire – and out into the city. No one would take us in. Walking the dark streets, a sleety drizzle falling, every hotel was booked, everywhere full. I had once known Vienna pretty well. I had stayed in the city […]

Read More

Prague

Prague

The train to Prague whirled us full tilt in the direction of the western edge of the Slavic world. I had been given a tip before we boarded the train at Berlin’s Hauptbanhof to sit on the left hand side. “You’ll thank me when you get to the Elba” the passing passenger, a stranger on […]

Read More

Berlin

Berlin

The first view of Germany was a confusion of woods and sparse villages. We had just crossed the border from Holland into Rhineland- Westphalia, surrounded by frozen mud fields and a pale sun, dulled by clouds, at a grim, austere, Bad Bentheim station. Here the Dutch engine on our train was unwanted – removed – […]

Read More

Outward Bound – Amsterdam

Outward Bound – Amsterdam

The gamely cheerful girl took the final boarding pass – ours – and watched as the shuttle bus crossed the wet quay, round the loading trucks, from the railway into the boat. Water falling from the dark, overcast sky. The boat sat huge above the train, riding at anchor. Later, sometime after 11, we stood […]

Read More

Salonica Train (England to Greece: the long way)

A journey back home from England to Thessaloniki.

Following great swathes of the old Orient Express route on seeper trains, a hint of muder and romance in the air. Stop-overs in the grand European cities of Empires’ past.
Or on rural trains through fields and plains in those mysterious regions between the Vienna Woods and the Black Sea.

A long detour round the back of Europe.

Read More

North By Northwest Greece

North By Northwest Greece

Alexander the Great aimed for the Ends of the World and the Great Outer Sea. I suppose we did too. We reached as far as the Aegean seacoast of Central Macedonia… But time had run out on us and now we had to turn and head back across the country. Homeward bound. Back from North […]

Read More

Central Macedonia

Central Macedonia

Along the road between Florina and Edessa, Western Macedonia turned quietly, imperceptibly, into Central Macedonia. Waiting somewhere for us within this new Greek state were beaches of naked abandonment, a forsaken camp for five thousand refugees, a city of Eastern foods, a preposterously grand Orthodox wedding, the sworn sighting of a miracle… For now though, […]

Read More