It’s been just over a week since we boarded our flight to Venice and began a trip of a lifetime.
After we landed in Venice, having raided the duty free make up counters and fallen asleep on our fellow passengers (That was me. I did that.), the lovely Frederico picked us up and took us to our hotel, which was stunning. We decided to take advantage of the time we had in Venice and walked for miles around the city, before deciding to stop for a drink in one of the beautiful sun-filled squares.
A couple of Aperol Spritz’s later, and we’re off to explore some more. Louisa and Steve got very involved in the Venetian Masks on offer on every street, while Anna took some serious photographs - she’s always updating our instagram with her beautiful shots so check it out here, or have a look at her website here.
We got a relatively early night and woke up in time for a hearty hotel buffet breakfast before spending some serious time getting appropriately glammed up for the adventure ahead of us.
I think it’s fair to say we didn’t really believe that we would be travelling on the VSOE until we got to the platform to check in. It was an incredibly surreal experience; the train is magnificent and you can feel the history surrounding it. We were shown to our two cabins with an adjoining door (slumber party!), with a glass of something sparkly waiting for us. We met Rory, our lovely steward who took amazing care of us, and took a moment to appreciate how lucky we were to be experiencing the VSOE in person.
We performed four sets for the wonderful guests on the train. For two of those sets we played saxophone, and let me tell you, playing a saxophone in an evening dress and high heels in a confined space on a moving train is a WORK OUT. Steve showed the piano a rip-roaring time and it was an honour performing our own songs as well as some classics on board the historical carriage.
We ate a ridiculous number of delicious meals on board; Lunch, Afternoon Tea in our cabin, Dinner, Breakfast in our cabin and then Brunch. Eating amazing food while watching the beautiful views pass by our window was unbelievable! Our dinner on Wednesday night was eaten while going through Austria, Lichtenstein and Switzerland. How often can you say that?! The bar manager, Ignazio, was a true gentleman and made us The Guilty 12, a signature cocktail of the VSOE. He couldn’t tell us what was in it (trade secrets), but trust me, it was great.
For someone who falls asleep on moving trains as often as I do, falling asleep on the VSOE in our cosy bunks was one of the best feelings in the world. Waking up to a delicious breakfast served in our cabin and enjoying the rest of the journey was magical.
Sitting on the floor of our South West Train from Victoria back to Winchester just reminded us even more how lucky we are! We certainly don't take this job for granted. The whole experience felt like a dream, and we hope that we can return one day soon to perform for the VSOE and all it’s wonderful guests!