Category: Russia

The most beautiful lake in the world

The Pearl of Siberia It’s known as The Pearl of Siberia. Really, it’s the pearl of planet Earth. As much as I’ve traveled and as much as I’ve seen, only a handful of places have struck such a lasting chord with me. Lake Baikal, or “Ozero Baikal” as the Russians pronounce it, is one of those places. Holding 20% […]

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Some trips stick with you.

How long does a vacation really last? There have been several articles which claim that the benefits of a vacation fade quickly after it’s over. While I’ve found that to be true for short, easy trips, I’ve also found longer and more challenging trips stick with me for far longer after I return home. I think that’s because the more difficult trips force us to […]

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Why You Should Go to Siberia This Year

A Winter’s Journey to… Siberia? While most of your traveler friends count the days to their tropical island getaways this winter, you might consider bucking the trend and heading somewhere that’s completely off the beaten path. Siberia might not top anybody’s list of winter travel destinations, but it holds untold rewards for those willing to […]

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Breathing in Northern Asia

A short story to cool you off It’s late July, North America’s just endured its worst heat wave of the year so far, and I can’t wait for things to cool off. If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you already know my affinity for cold weather. Otherwise, “The Polar Route” says it […]

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New Destination Gallery: RUSSIA

Twelve Cities, Six Weeks Worth of Travel The new Russia gallery is the culmination of about six weeks of travel through Russia on two separate trips. Cities included St. Petersburg, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Tyumen, Tomsk, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Listvyanka and Lake Baikal, Khabarovsk, and Vladivostok. Travel between each city involved a cumulative 16 days worth […]

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Video! Welcome to the Trans Siberian Railway

Welcome to my first video! It’s a summary of Trans Siberian train travel covering two separate trips – once westbound in late fall on the Trans Mongolian route from Shanghai to Moscow, and once eastbound in winter on the classic Trans Siberian route from Tallinn to Vladivostok. The video’s best watched in full screen (click […]

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Just How Cold is Siberia in Winter?

I just finished my second trip on the Trans Siberian Railway, an epic journey that took me from Tallinn, Estonia to Vladivostok, Russia by land. I went in late fall the first time across, and although it snowed in every Russian city I visited I was left wondering just how cold it gets in the […]

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Embracing the Challenges of Traveling Abroad

Regardless of where you are in the world, traveling challenges in unexpected ways. It’s how we deal with those challenges that make the difference between a successful or unsuccessful trip. I’m in Tyumen, Russia, halfway around the world and twelve time zones away from my home in Chicago. Two months ago I’d barely even heard of […]

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The Rudest City on Earth?

I have to assume the woman is apologizing. She’s working the coat check desk at the Armory Museum in the Kremlin, and she’s just aggressively slammed my coat down onto the table. My DSLR was inside one of the pockets, and a horrible sound filled the room as a part went flying. All eyes are […]

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Why Would You Want to Travel HERE?

Welcome… to Siberia It’s rare that the mere name of a place evokes the sort of visceral feelings that “Siberia” is likely to conjur. For me it’s a wide ranging mix of sentiments: amazement, wonderment, fascination, a little bit of fear, and a lot of respect. Far from anywhere and sparsely populated, Siberia is the […]

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Running Across Lake Baikal

Running… on a lake? By volume, it’s the largest freshwater lake in the world. It’s also the world’s oldest and deepest lake, and it holds some of the clearest and cleanest water on earth. And it’s cold. The lake freezes over every year thanks to Siberia’s brutal winters, and every March a marathon is run […]

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Best Places in Europe for…

Looking for new travel ideas? Here are 5 places in Europe to check out. Best places in Europe for: For going broke on $10 coffees: Moscow, Russia Кофемания (Coffeemania) in Moscow, at $10 usd a cup, boasts the most expensive coffee anywhere I’ve ever seen. Well, except for maybe the $30 cup of Kopi Luwak coffee […]

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Trans Siberian Railroad

I’ve finally finished blogging the Trans Siberian Railroad, a journey that took me from Shanghai to Moscow by train between Oct-Nov of last year. If you want to jump right in, start with my post on Shanghai. Otherwise, read on! I’ve traveled a lot over the last several years. I mean a lot. And despite all my […]

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Trans Siberian Railroad: Moscow

Nov 10-13, 2011 There are many options for train travel in and out of Moscow – we chose an overnight train in the hopes of getting some sleep and saving the cost of a hotel. By now we were quite accustomed to sleeping on trains and while 6hrs of sleep on a moving train can’t […]

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Trans Siberian Railroad: Nizhny Novgorod

Nov 8-9, 2011 After Omsk’s relative lack of tourist attractions we were ready for something new. Situated along a river and build upward along hilly terrain, Nizhny Novgorod was perhaps the most picturesque of all the cities we visited. Closed to foreigners during the Soviet era, today it has plenty to offer: good restaurants, walking paths, […]

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Trans Siberian Railroad: Omsk, Russia

Nov 5-7, 2011 Omsk. Nearing western Siberia and close to the boarder of Kazakhstan, it’s about as central it gets in Russia. Omsk doesn’t offer much for the tourist. It’s as big a city as you’ll find in Siberia, but the guidebooks give it simply a passing mention. It’s just another stop on the way […]

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Trans Siberian Railroad: Lake Baikal, Russia

Nov 1-3, 2011 After a night in Irkutsk, we headed via shared taxi to this cool little town on the shores of Lake Baikal. Listvyanka (Листвянка) lies in a shallow valley with hills on both sides of the town. The terrain ascends as you move away from the lake, giving a great panoramic view from […]

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Trans Siberian Railroad: Irkutsk, Russia

Oct 31-Nov 1, 2011 On Oct 31 we arrived in Irkutsk by train from Ulaanbaatar. Again the train ride was 2 nights and 1 day. Our one day on the train didn’t consist so much of “riding” the train as it did sitting on the train. We spent several hours dealing with customs and immigration […]

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