- While visiting Egypt in
December, I found that the most cost-efficient way to travel from
Cairo to Aswan and Luxor, two of Egypt’s top archeological
destinations, was a 12-hour overnight sleeper train. I booked a
two-person compartment for about $110 a person.
- Ever since I was a child, I read books and watched
movies where the setting was an overnight sleeper train. It has
forever fueled a fascination with long-distance train travel and I
have always wanted to try one out.
- The experience both did and didn’t live up to my
romantic ideal of train travel. The compartment was clean, the beds
were comfortable, and the service was friendly and attentive, but
the I hardly slept on the shaky train. The train was dated and
didn’t have the hallmarks one associates with the golden age of
rail — dining cars, bar cars, and fancy meals.
There are few things that evince a stronger nostalgia for a
traveler than an overnight sleeper train.
Even in our age of fast, cheap air travel, if you asked most
travelers if they would stuff themselves in a train compartment for
days and watch the landscape whiz by, I guarantee most would say
I mean, have you read Agatha Christie’s “Murder
on the Orient Express?” Seen Alfred Hitchcock’s “North
by Northwest?” Watched James
Bond stalk compartments in “From Russia With Love?” Or —
to use a more current film — imagined yourself rolling through
the India like Wes Anderson’s sad-sack brothers in “The
Like most nostalgia-inflected things, sleeper trains are
something whose imagined charm does not stack up to its grubby
reality. Gone are the golden days of rail when wealthy
snowy-bearded travelers in three-piece suits dined on starched
tablecloths while nervously flicking the brass clasp of their
Not that reality was going to stop me from taking a sleeper
train the first chance I got.
This past December, while visiting Egypt, I found out an
overnight sleeper train managed by
rail company Ernst Watania seemed to be the most cost-efficient
— if not time-efficient — way to get from Cairo to Egypt’s
southern border where many of its greatest archeological sites
I booked two first-class tickets for a double compartment and
began to train — cue locomotive-themed Rocky montage — for
the 12-hour, nearly 600-mile rail journey.
The trip was at once a romantic experience and one I likely
won’t repeat again. Here’s what it was like:
To catch the train, I headed to the train station in Giza, about a
half-hour drive from downtown Cairo. While many trains leave from
Cairo’s Victorian-era Ramses Station, Giza’s station is far smaller
and easier to navigate.
I was scheduled to take the 7:45 p.m. sleeper train so I made sure
to arrive a little after 7 p.m. The station was packed when I got
there. But most people weren’t waiting for the sleeper train.
The majority of the Egyptians on the platform were waiting for the
second or third-class trains that travel the same route south.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
I took a 12-hour overnight first-class sleeper train through the heart of Egypt, and it's an experience I won't forget anytime soon