- May 10, 2012
- 0 comment
- Posted by EdGraham
- Asia Travel, China, Destinations, Europe Travel, Mongolia, Russia, Russia, Trans Siberian Railroad
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 travels, for various reasons I hadn’t yet been able to find the right timing for my true dream trip, the Trans Siberian Railroad. For one, the trip is a huge time commitment. Train travel from Shanghai to Moscow takes 8 days straight through, and that’s if you don’t ever set foot off the train. It’s been done (and to each their own!) but I personally don’t see the point in that. You might as well hole yourself up in your apartment for 8 days – put some foreign language channels on tv and call it good!
For another, what is usually a simple act of planning a trip becomes quite difficult with the Trans Siberian Railroad. The journey covers three countries… that means three countries worth of train travel, three different languages, currencies, multiple time zones and train stations to navigate. It’s enough to overwhelm even the most seasoned of travelers. And visas! Visas can be a tremendous challenge: China and Russia are far from user friendly (or cheap) when it comes to applying for and obtaining visas. And if you don’t hold an American passport, Mongolia can be quite difficult as well.
I still wanted to go despite these challenges (or maybe because of). And in October of last year I got my chance – I was able to get a month off straight through, and naturally the first thing that came to mind was the Trans Siberian Railroad.
Given the sheer size and scope of the trip, I wanted to spend as much time as possible exploring absolutely everything about our chosen cities. As planned, the trip ended up being a month long with stops in Shanghai, Beijing, Ulaanbaatar, Terelj, Irkutsk, Listvyanka, Omsk, Nhizny Novgorod, and Moscow. While a month certainly wasn’t enough, we saw a LOT in that time and we went home with a good feel for what life is like on the other side of the planet. I’ve always had a particular fascination with people who not just survive, but live and thrive in cold climates, and it was amazing to witness the normalcy of it all firsthand. Perhaps the highlight of that was seeing women out in Omsk wearing skirts and nylons… nothing particularly unusual – except that it was 5 degrees F with bitterly cold wind chills well below 0.
It was a truly epic trip, so check it out! (posts are in reverse chronological order – if you want to read it as I did it, start at the earliest date)