Escape to Europe (Day 1)

by Justin Cheong
L’Officiel Singapore Deputy Editor heads to Prague and Venice (via Istanbul!) for a super exclusive preview of Bulgari’s new high perfumery collection for men.

What do you do when you have only three days in three countries? Make the most out of it, of course! My brief escape to Europe saw me board a luxury train, zipping around on a speedboat and exploring the sights in a vintage car. Here, the highlights of Day 1 where I cover Instabul (sort of) and Prague:

Always my favourite part of the journey – being in the airplane and on the tarmac. To me, it’s the true signal of departure. Goodbye Singapore!
After a close to 11-hour red-eye on Turkish Airlines (the Business Class is superb – the food, especially, was delish!) and chilling out in the lounge at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, I bid farewell to Turkey and am on my way to Prague.
Arriving at Augustine, a luxury Starwood hotel that used to be a monastery, a quick freshen-up is in order before we we’re whisked off to lunch at Prague Castle – heading through the picturesque city in vintage cars, no less.
Really thrilled to catch the changing of the guards at Prague Palace – so much grandeur in the officious ceremony that involves a fanfare and banner exchange. And the dusty grey-blue of this uniform is such an amazing hue!
Three courtyards past the main gate of Prague Castle stands the imposing St. Vitus Cathedral, a 14th century edifice with flying buttresses and jaw-droppingly beautiful stained glass windows. Things were getting surreal – what a visual assault (in a good way) just three hours after landing on Czech soil!
Feeling very small outside the majestic façade of the St Vitus Cathedral.
What’s lunch at Prague Palace without a royal figure – so honoured to be hosted by His Serene Highness Prince William Lobkowicz and shown a stunning panorama of Prague (see next picture) from one of the castle’s balconies.
Really wish I’d had more time to explore the beautiful city of Prague. Before we knew it, the royal lunch was over and all the members of the media were escorted to…
…the train station, where we boarded the luxurious Venice Simplon Orient-Express. I love trains! Was especially excited to be on this one that reeked of old-world glamour, and was filled with the anticipation of the European landscape whizzing past my cabin window. That evening was a ’20s-themed black tie affair with excellent food, lots of laughter and unabashed dancing. Check out what happened next in Escape to Europe (Day 2)!

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