EUROPE: Off Goes the Orient Express

The French President and a special envoy of the Sultan of Turkey were on the flag-bedecked platform at Paris' Care de I'Est when the Orient Express chugged proudly off on its maiden trip to Constantinople in 1883. On that first trip, the 2,000-odd miles took six days and six hours, what with all the border ceremonies and crowds along the track.* The seats had velvet covers topped by Brussels lace, and lush damask .curtains hung from the windows; the fittings were of solid oak and mahogany; on the outside of every car was a coat of arms and the proud...

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