26 Jun Turning back
We had planned to reach Istanbul about the time our interrail passes expired and then take a flight back to the UK. Ahead of schedule by several days, we had the option of heading home by rail, but couldn’t quite face the night trains or buses through to Sofia and Belgrade. The alternative route, via Bucharest and Budapest offered similar creature discomforts only for longer! So a quick rummage on the www and two cheap flights with Turkish Airlines would whisk us over the Balkans to Vienna where we could pick up trains again.
Turkish Airlines are fab! Great service on board, terrific 3-course meal, comfortable plane, delayed but not by too much. Into Vienna and feeling the culture change already. We loved the Istanbul transport system and its rich array of colour, vintage and character. Not how you’d describe the uber clean machine that awaits you at Vienna airport. CAT is no acronym; this is a smooth quiet train ride, slinky and feline, reminiscent of those Gillette Mach 2 ads (or it might be 3 or even 4) promising the smoothest shave of your life, that Lionel Messi look- smooth dude!
Let’s not get carried away, though. After the CAT, the Vienna U-Bahn is just a regular metro-type train, a seasoned workhorse, not swanky but efficient and well-interconnected so we could reach the dull but adequate Tulip Hotel with the minimum of fuss. Gosh travel is tiring. Vienna tomorrow.