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On leaving Strasbourg, look out for Strasbourg cathedral on the left with its famously missing second tower.Minutes afterwards you rumble across the river Rhine into Germany, before heading on to Stuttgart and Munich.Istanbul is Europe's most exotic city, at the edge of Europe where east meets west.Can you still travel from London or Paris to Istanbul by train? The train journey is remarkably straightforward, safe & comfortable, see the video guide.Sit back with a glass of red and enjoy the ride - book an upper deck seat for the best views.The train has power sockets for laptops & mobiles at all seats in both classes, and a cafe-bar serves drinks, snacks & microwaved hot dishes.The fare includes a light breakfast of coffee, juice & croissant. There's time for dinner in Munich before boarding, for a Bavarian meal & a beer or two try Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf.The Ister from Budapest to Bucharest has a modern air-conditioned Romanian sleeping-car with carpeted 1, 2 or 3-berth compartments with proper beds & washbasin, plus several deluxe 1, 2 or 3 bed compartments with private toilet & shower, see the photos below.
It is possible that the mainline international trains will permanently terminate at Halkali, although once the project is complete you'll be able to use a suburban train between Halkali and a new underground station in central Istanbul near Sirkeci.Yet it's also an epic 2,000 mile 3 or 4-night adventure, rediscovering some of the mystery, intrigue and romance of long-distance train travel through the Balkans.