Some time ago we came up with the bright idea that we should travel from Sarajevo to London by train. The Sarajevo part came from Peter’s studies; the train travel from me. I love trains. I mean, I know naff all about trains but I love to travel on them. Stations are easier to reach than airports, the journey is simpler, the scenery is often second-to-none (and unspoilt by traffic or clouds), you can walk around on board, it’s easier than flying to meet interesting people (and similarly to escape from weirdos), no passport control, no hideous journey to the suburbs four hours before your scheduled departure time, and you end up slap-bang in the middle of your destination.
What began as a great idea (fly one-way to Sarajevo, then wind our way back to London via rail alone) slowly disintegrated as we left it far too long to book flights and based our travel plans entirely on the SkyScanner results of some six weeks previously. When we finally got around to sorting tickets to Bosnia, we discovered that the cheapest flights went via Istanbul. Istanbul. Further away from London than Sarajevo – but cheaper to reach. And with a 18-hour layover. We shrugged and optimistically added another destination to our already bulging travel plans. Five countries in eight days was for suckers. We could easily do six.