Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Enjoy a Trans-Siberian rail journey
Think of Russia and after fur hats and vodka perhaps the next thought in this game of word association would be the Trans-Siberian Railway. The trip is almost synonymous with the country. It stretches from Moscow across the expanse of Siberia to the Pacific Ocean port of Vladivostok. It's an epic journey – roughly 10,000 kilometres or a third of the globe.
But this seven-day journey is also a gateway to some of the most fascinating places in the world. The Trans-Siberian passes the world's deepest lake, cities that were once closed off to the outside world and the vast Siberian steppe.
It's an adventure we had to have. We've lived in Moscow now for just over a year but ever since we arrived, we've been told that "Moscow is not Russia". It's a city of 13 million people, crushing traffic jams, pollution, a few dozen billionaires and hosts of begging babushkas. We've been told the "real" Russia exists outside Moscow.
So, this summer - when most of Moscow disappears to country dachas – we're bound for the Russian heartland via a train carriage on the Trans-Siberian. Our three-week holiday will begin when we board the flight to Vladivostok this Saturday. We're planning to make our way back to Moscow on the train with a few stops along the way. Most of the Muscovites we know think that we're mad.
But we're not discouraged. We have the train tickets. We have bottles of mosquito repellent to ward off the most common Siberian scourge. We've had our shots to ward off tick-borne encephalitis – just in case we encounter some reindeer. We still need to buy a nozzle to use on the train for a makeshift shower. And we need to pack for weather ranging from sub-zero to plus-40. We're practising some key phrases in Russian and reading up on our first stop and the starting point for this trip: Vladivostok.
You've just read the first post of the exciting rail journey
of Emma Griffiths on her adventure from Vladivostok to Moscow.
Her account is best enjoyed in chronological order. Below are
some of the pictures from her photo gallery. Hope you'll enjoy the
adventure as much as I did.