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The Orient Express

Today Nadia and I took her parents on a day-trip to Folkstone on the Orient Express. We left Victoria at about 11:30 and had a delicious three course lunch on the way down. The main course, in particular, was fantastic.

The train in itself was an experience. It consisted exclusively of British Pullman carriages; ours was the Ibis, built in 1925. We had our own compartment, and people in white uniforms falling over themselves to make sure we had a comfortable journey.

Even the toilet was spacious, and came complete with a huge marble sink and naked lady mosaic flooring. I also liked that it had honest-to-god coat-hangers so you could hang your coat up properly whilst riding the porcelain bus. None of those pert knobs on the wall that leaves your jacket a funny shape afterwards. Oh, no.

As we arrived at Folkstone Harbour Band a four-piece band started playing 1920’s music. Well, it sounded like 1920’s music to me, at least. They were jolly, and pretty good, and added a great atmosphere.

We were taken by bus up to Grand and Metropole hotels, where we spent a good 80 minutes stretching our legs trotting around the grounds and lounging in the bar. Nadia and I also had a good laugh at a Japanese woman with one of the weirdest head-garments I’ve ever seen. It looked like she’d super-glued half a surf-board to her forehead. It was hilarious. I wish I managed to get a picture of it, but I was laughing too hard.

We left an hour late from Folkstone, but the driver managed to rein in about three quarters of that, making our homeward trip a little bouncier than I’d liked. It meant that if we filled our tea-cups more than one third up, they would spill if we didn’t hold on to them all the time. Other than that, the sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, jam, and cakes were all wonderful.