“The train?” I ask. “The train,” confirms M.
M is my magazine contact. After I flip my hat onto Miss Moneypenny’s rack, she buzzes me in, and M gives me my next assignment. “London, then a train to Brussels, then a train to Amsterdam.” I impertinently ask: “Then what?” M impatiently snaps: “Then await further instruction.”
Mission possible. I have been on many a trip by train: Naples to Turin, Tokyo to Kyoto, Toronto to Montreal, London to Glasgow, Los Angeles to Chicago. I acquaint a train with mystery, romance, suspense. I see 007 on the Orient Express, outfoxing a KGB agent with a booby-trapped briefcase. I see Hercule Poirot in an observation car, identifying the killers. I see Eva Marie Saint on the 20th Century Limited, curling up in a compartment with Cary Grant. (I once dined with the sweet Ms. Saint and inquired about her famous, fictional North By Northwest train tryst. “Mmmm,” she said mirthfully, “if you’ve got to go, that’s the way to go!”)
I am propositioned by Eurostar, the high-speed passenger-rail service: a three-city sojourn, in and out; see how much you can see. Check out the company’s partnerships with European museums and galleries, including a two-for-one admission to certain exhibitions for passengers holding a Eurostar ticket. Get a glimpse of Eurostar’s new and refurbished fleet of trains — built by Siemens, furnished and designed by Pininfarina with onboard cuisine by Raymond Blanc available to business premier passengers … ooh-la-la: train Chic.
Arrangements are made by the capable people from Rail Europe, the go-to place in North America for purchasing Eurostar tickets, hand in hand with The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd., a self explanatory site for luxury lodging. Count me in. Passage to adventure.