First Class Sleeper Review - Budapest to Berlin (BUD-BER)
Traveling by rail is glam: Multiply that by TEN if it’s in a sleeper car.
When I was a kid – I read Murder on the Orient Express on my first trip to Europe – and I instantly fell in love with the idea of traveling by overnight international trains. I have been an addict ever since - -searching for Agatha Christie like experiences (minus the gruesome killings!) in every part of the world.
I was recently in Budapest and leapt at the chance to take the EuroNight Sleeper service between this Eastern capital and Berlin!
Keleti Station Departure
The train departs from Keleti Station, which has the feel of an old-world outpost. It has an imposing entrance and sets of ornate murals inside.
My train was scheduled to leave at 8:40PM - which meant there was no dining car. I knew that ahead of time - but I wasn't very prepared.
I picked up some snacks and Merlot at a nearby store, but I should have procured gourmet provisions downtown. The selection of Veuve Clicquot and Sevruga Caviar was seriously lacking at the supermarkets close to the station.
First Class Sleeper
Red Wine in hand - I headed off to find my first class sleeper. There were cars from multiple countries attached to the train: Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic. I am pretty sure my car was Czech stock.
The First Class royal blue and bright yellow car was modern, roomy and well maintained. Even though my compartment had three beds. I had it for myself. I had booked it as a single. (You need to be careful when you reserve as you could easily end up sharing your room with fellow travelers – which would lower the glam factor!)
There was plenty of space and more than enough room to store luggage (Leave your steamer trunk of Dior gowns at home though - there isn't THAT much room!).
The restroom was tight – but did the job - and I loved having private facilities. It came with a ton of shelf space, which seemed a bit weird, as the journey was less than 14 hours. If you need a truckload of beauty products, there’s room for it!
The glam kind-of skidded off the tracks when it came to the shower.
To be truthful, it did not work that well. The water was cold and the stream was weak. It might have been bad-luck, as I have used similar hardware on the German night train between Paris and Berlin and it worked like a charm.
A welcomed bonus was the key card - which is not always common on night trains. Usually you have to leave your cabin open if you wonder down the hall. As a single traveler, I loved the extra security the key afforded.
Thankfully, the cabin also came equipped with temperature controls - and there was plenty of air in the room.
Other features in the first class cabin included blackout shades, which allowed one to sleep past sunrise - and side seats for guests.
About 45 minutes prior to arrival in Berlin, the porter served ‘breakfast’... in a paper bag.
I welcomed the coffee – but the rest was a bit basic: crackers (a massive pack of them!), jam and a piece of cheese. I wondered for a moment if he had mixed up my order with a prison car that may have been attached to the train?
Nevertheless, I was hungry so it welcomed the rations.
The EuroNight Rail Service was a great way to travel between Budapest and Berlin. The cars were modern, well maintained, and helped induce peaceful slumber along the way. The First Class Sleeper felt like a glam way to commute between the two capitals.
The breakfast was a bit of a ‘miss’ – but after eating so much goulash, schnitzel, and chicken paprikash in Budapest, I needed the caloric restrictions!