We once did this – The Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge

So we thought we’d do the same in Europe. So in 2013 we did. This blog is originally about that trip.

We’ve had 12 months now of shunting this about, and have come up with 23 capitals in 16½ days. See the route and places pages if you want the details.

The original scheme was as follows :- Travel from Paris to Paris (start in London if you wish), and visit the furthest most extremes of the European railway network, north, south, east and west. Right now, “Europe” is defined as those parts of the continent you can travel through on a European InterRail pass, but we may relent and go all out to Yekaterinburg.

This has now developed into “clock off as many European capitals that you can manage while traveling between London and Istanbul in 15 days. Include the arctic circle and at least one swiss mountain spectacular on the trip. i.e we lost Sicily as it was deemed not worth it. Technically Murmansk is further north than Narvik. But now Istanbul has dropped off the map, no trains run there till late 2013 (take that as 2014), but we ended up with an even better plan as a result.

I also said “The essence of the trip is to do it flat out, and spend every night (bar one special night) on the train. It’s just 15 days on the current plan. The special night is the summer solstice at the ever so arctic extreme of Narvik, just a few miles south of the north pole“. Well, in order to ensure that the trip is feasible, that’s now 5 nights, Narvik, Berlin, Sofia, Sarajevo and Venice. We have developed micro tours of each city we visit, so when you get off the train you’ll be finding you’ll be getting on another one, or a tram, and getting the classic snapshot of whatever is the local tourist sightseeing highlight.

Would love to come but don’t think you can get the time off ?. Well stop making excuses. We aren’t going till summer 2013.

Who Is Invited ?

Nobody I don’t know. If I, or anyone else already on the train.  doesn’t know you from Adam, or you aren’t very comfortably off, well travelled, generous, and with a personality to match, then tune out now, this isn’t for you. You are welcome though to rip me off and do it yourself. Just don’t pick the same ruddy dates as me else we’ll be needing Hercule Poirot at some stage.

The group is going to consist of German, Irish, Italian, Bulgarian, American, Indian and a variety of Britishers, and probably a few other nationalities once I’ve got the demand curve stabilized. Right now everyone on my possibles list has either known me for over 10 years or have at least spent a fortnight on a train with me already. I will consider total strangers, but you’ll have to be totally unfazed by the £2,000 budget estimate, very funny and/or very attractive, and not bothered by the fact that everyone else seems to know each other.


5 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Guys, I’ve connected through reading Drew’s book on India.
    I run UnusualHotelsOfTtheWorld.com – so we’re always on the lookout for fun stuff to do. I’d like to write about what you’re doing – and if I can, try to join you in 2013. I’ve been on the train to Narvik (nearly, I stopped off in Kiruna), and get involved with RailEurope on projects.
    Maybe we can share some ideas?

    Good luck

    Steve Dobson

  2. All the best with this trip everyone – Lester you don’t know me from Adam so will not even grovel to come along 🙂

    Will be over for the cricket and not missing that anyway.

    Looking forward to the final itinerary, the tips for those of us who follow your footsteps and the photos.

    NB: Take a lot of deoderant!!


    Chris (Expat in Perth WA)

    • Lester says:

      chris, the “no you cant” is just a directive to kiddies and blogsters. but we will be slap bang in the middle of the cricket, so perhaps you can turn up at st pancras with one of those cork hats and sing waltzing matilda and take a group photo. oh, motive power.com, look see how it goes, only a couple of the gang are seriously deranged in a railway direction, all i’m bothered about is avoiding dickheads who think it’s free and i’m a ruddy tour operator.
      either way thanks for the thumbs, join us on the rail forum http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=56868&page=28

  3. Pingback: Disorient Express, Third Leg: Berlin to Bucharest

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