The price of the ticket is in, and it’s almost exactly £1,000. You’ll need to stump that amount up at the start of next year to Ffestiniog Travels, who can do the entire, mind bogglingly complicated ticket, and hence save me endless hassle.
There are 5 overnight stop offs, these are
And Venice, TBD
The first one needs booking as far in advance as possible. It will be full on midnight-sun time and territory, it gets booked out way in advance. So I will be asking for £50 off each of you over the summer in some form (I know some of your banks have already abandoned personal cheques). This serves the double purpose of nailing these chalets and also finding out which of you are for real. The chalets are less than £50 a head, I think all 3 will be under £100 in total. There are showers on most of the trains, only in the deep south will you be deprived of a morning rinse. We are hoping to nail a dorm room somewhere in Istanbul as a glorified bag drop and you’ll be able to shower there. And we’ll work something out for Sofia too.
Style over Stress
So that just leaves food and beverage for 2 weeks. A few weeks reflection on the plan as is has led me to challenge the Challenge tag that has found it’s way onto this project. The real challenge is going to be to execute this in a civilized manner, and so some of my urban gyrations are going to have to be trimmed down somewhat. The Bosphorus is going to have to be navigated, twice if you plan on coming back, and we’re still going to do all the Colosseums and Eiffel Towers etc, but trying to bag some circuit of Sofia or even Barca is asking for tension. Instead I am focusing on these supply drops. With a budget of about £50 a day, which means the overall trip is going to cost you about £2,000, we’ve plenty for some fancy native nosh, and quality alcohol.
I have some good plans for Copenhagen and Stockholm, The Swedes in particular do a fine line in things like this
And the Danes do a range of open sandwiches with all kinds of fishy stuff on them. If you really can’t stand sea food, and we have at least one pure veggie on the trip, then speak up as the details of what your cash is going to get spent on are revealed in more detail.
The most spectacular of these picnics is most likely to be on our Alpine traversal over the Bernina pass in the open top carriages. This would have been awesome even with a few bags of crisps and a couple of tins of warm lager. But Italy, and Milan in particular, can do a lot better than that. And they will. We are going to use the guys at Peck, who are described as an Italian answer to Harrods food hall. It will be worth splashing out on. If you are or will be in Milan at the time, and you know at least one other person on the trip, and haven’t ever done the Bernina Pass on the train (it’s awesome), then take Friday off and come to St Moritz with us for the ride of a lifetime.
The price of these picnics, while pretty reasonable per head (between £20 and £50 a time), is obviously going to be north of £500 a throw for all of us, so you’ll have to stump up some more money for that also before we set off, roughly £300, on top of the ticket and the hostel stuff. We’ll also be sourcing chocolatiers in Brussels and late night boozeries in Berlin, as well as a Prussian style Picnic for the now civilized daytime run down to Prague (note that we’ve ditched Dresden and are maximizing our stops in Berlin and Prague). And we have our own native expert to sort out the critical Budapest supply drop for the run through Romania down to Istanbul. This will include stuff like fire sausage and pickled water melon.
And of course Bulgaria is extensively represented on the invite list, so we’re expecting something groovy to go from there too.
I currently have Urban Deli in Stockholm as a probable vendor. I’m still looking at Copenhagen. As a group there are of course several people we know who come from either of those places, so I’m sure we’ll get some native knowledge on those before long. We will also collect supplies in Bodø in northern Norway, although what might constitute a Norwegian picnic has yet to be established. If you have any input on any of our stops, we still have to work out what we are doing in Barcelona and Madrid for instance, please send in your suggestions by some means or other.