We’ve a new and improved southerly route from Hamburg, Austria makes it in with a stop at Vienna, but at the cost of Prague, and the drive through of Bratislava. We’ve a shorter stop at Budapest, but still over 4 hours, and we get Bucharest and far less duplicated track, i.e on the whole more convex, more mileage, and same number of capitals. We also loose the short stop in Sofia,

Hamburg 20:34
Wien 09:04

Wien 11:44
Budapest 14:49

Budapest 19:10
Bucharest 11:38

Bucharest 12:13
Istanbul 07:50

I am currently battling through the sleeper supplements, it’s a complete minefield with 20 odd operators to deal with. We’ve got a hit of £48 for the oslo trondheim train, such is Norway. They are 2 berth cabins though. The quotes I’ve got from Rail Europe are a joke, I suspect we’ll be able to get the Italian ones down a few quid, but the full ticket price, including all the calculable extras, is looking at not a lot short of £1,000.