So the European adventure now over, means it was time to begin the Trans Siberian!
For those who aren’t familiar with this, it is actually not a single train ride, instead a network of trains stretching thousands of kilometres across Russia and Siberia, with different routes branching off into Mongolia and China. Then ‘trans-Siberian express’ is not the name of one train, and no such ‘express’ service exists (unless you count the only-for-tourists $10,000+ luxury affair) and the trains are regular passenger trains, used by regular folk travelling from A to B. For the travellers amongst us, the explorers, it is an adventure that sees you travel over 5000 km on the rails. And what an adventure it was! Described as once ion a lifetime, for me, once was certainly enough…
We chose the ‘trans-Mongolian’ route, which takes the normal trans-Siberian route from Moscow as far as Ulan Ude in far east Russia, then dips south into Mongolia via the capital; Ulan Bator. From there, it continues on to Beijing. We chose to stop at Irkutsk, located in eastern Siberian Russia in order to visit lake Baikal, Ulan Bator and finally we disembarked in Beijing. Apparently the most popular route due to the changing scenery and taking in 3 capitals, time on board tots up to 7 nights and covers a distance of over 7800 km from Moscow. With stops along the way and exploring the bookend capitals it took us a grand total of 26 nights.
To write about the whole nearly month in one blog would be madness and sleep inducing so it will be broken up into sizeable chunks… Stay tuned for part 1!