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577 travelers at this place:

  • Day14

    View from the train

    September 8 in Russia ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Just a couple of short video clips through the train window, first as we travelled through a Siberian Village (with musical accompaniment) and then a typical view as we travelled through a silver birch forest in the rain.

  • Day79

    Colours of Baikal

    September 18 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Fantastic day today in Listvyanka with the most stunning weather.
    We started the day with a visit to Baikal Museum which sadly included an aquarium with 2 of the saddest looking cute seals ever seen. I fluctuated between wanting to cry and wanting to break them out and throw them into the lake!
    After this we cheered ourselves up with a walk up the hill to the cable car and a v slow chairlift to the top which has magnificent views of Lake Baikal.
    We walked down and followed the lake to town for an hour in the sunshine.
    K then spotted a seal for real- a free swimming cutie in the lake. This made us feel a bit better about the sad one in captivity.
    Next was a coffee and some local berries right on the waters edge with the most stunning view of life on the lake.
    A trip to the market, a purchase of some rare Charoite ( only found in Baikal), a non purchase of some Seraphinite ( a mineral also only found here) and then an amazing dinner was all completed before sunset watching. No swimming today sadly.
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  • Day61

    Riverside festival

    August 31 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Sorry was only going to do 1 post tonight but K’s photos too cool- if I do say so myself!!
    We have just had a laugh whilst posting the video of the 2 kids dancing.
    As we were walking home I laughed about a woman in a red dress who was on an electric scooter with a small child running behind her. Whilst posting the video who scooted through at the end? - the woman in the red dress.... and then the running child appeared..... there was about 45 mins between the 2 events!!! That is going to be one fit bit tired child!!Read more

  • Day66

    Moscow to Trans Siberian Boarding

    September 5 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Moscow to Yekaterinburg - 26 hours
    Checked out of our hotel and spent 3 hours printing and sending back our Australian Tax returns (yawn.... u should be exempt from such mundane chores whilst travelling!).
    A taxi to Kazanskiy train station took us past our fave building depositing us the recommended hour early.
    This just added to the stress of not being in the right place and trying to google translate the train board - unsuccessfully!
    However all was fine and we boarded our train ready for the 16.38 departure, settled into our fab little cabin and have been blessed with an absence of cabin buddies so far at least.
    The “Provonista” came around and took ur dinner order within 10 mins and in we settled!!
    Boring updates to follow...
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  • Day15

    Galina's Homestay

    September 9 in Russia ⋅ 🌙 9 °C

    Just to close up on our time in Bolshoe Goloustnoye we thought we would just mention our accommodation. There are very few tourists that come to this Village so only a few places offer accommodation. We stayed in a chalet attached to a farm and enjoyed what you could best describe as a homestay.

    Galina was the lady of the house and she looked after everything. We saw her husband wandering around from time to time but apparently he is a victim of the booze, as is the case with quite a few of the Villagers here as modern day life takes it’s toll on small remote communities.

    So she looks after all guest related issues herself and also runs their small farm, with some support from her two girls and grandchildren. She prepared for us very good, filling home-cooked Russian food and despite having not a single word of English was the perfect host.

    The Banya facility was great and our room was fine with the exception of the beds which were hard beyond belief (we both agreed on that!). But it has been a very different and enlightening experience living with a real family, in a real Village, in the real forest, of the far East of Siberia.
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  • Day80

    New Zealand Pie Shop in Irkutsk!!

    September 19 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Yes that is correct Random Russia keeps on giving!!
    Whilst searching for the way from the bus station to the hostel K spotted the New Zealand pie shop on google maps.
    Despite carrying our backpacks we decided we would go out of our way to pay it a visit.
    What a random find as the photos show!!!
    Luckily the pies were only $2.40 because my beef one was pretty average although K loved her apple and cinnamon.
    On questioning the Russian counter girl told us that the owner was Russian but had visited NZ and then came back and set up this pie shop of which it looks like a chain of at least 3 shops according to the brochure.
    K was v v happy with her pie.... meanwhile Vanessa’s Cafe In Hampden has nothing to worry about!!!
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  • Day9

    Welcome Russia

    March 3 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ -15 °C

    Following this street for more than 200 km to Murmansk. We were happy to find this fuel station, but they don't accept visa or Euro - so now we are trying to reach the next city in 175 km.. But we are happy to have sometimes internet and phone connection ;)

  • Day7

    Our journey to Yekaterinburg

    September 1 in Russia ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Our train is called and we go through boarding formalities with our Providnista who is the lady who will look after our carriage for the next 26 hours.

    We’re pleased with our compartment. There’s no first class on this train so we have a four berth second class compartment booked for just us (i.e. we have bought four tickets for the journey). Most other couples are sharing and there is no doubt that spending 26 hours in a confined space would be an interesting way to meet total strangers, but certainly not for us! We are not sure that with us and our luggage there would be room for anyone else anyway!!

    Now our Providnista is a very important person as she is ‘Queen Bee’ and responsible for everything in our 36 berth environment for the next day. We have read much about the perils of upsetting these ladies, but ours appears to be very friendly and we established a smiley relationship with her from the start.

    She does not speak a word of English so we had a very interesting situation shortly after departure when she sat down with us holding a pen and paper and rattled off questions in Russian. Don’t ask us how we got there (iPhone translate assisted slightly) but we finally established that everyone in second class is entitled to either a complimentary dinner or lunch, however, as we had bought four tickets for the journey we would get both and these would be served to our compartment at 6pm and midday.

    Dinner came, airline style, and was OK with a salami starter and a chicken and rice main. John ventured 5 carriages down to the restaurant/bar car where he bought a couple of local beers to go with the food.

    As darkness fell we read for a while, enjoyed a couple of vodkas (mixed with lemonade - a secret! Don’t tell the Russians!) and then prepared the beds which were already made and cleverly fold down. Lights were off about 11pm and we both slept pretty well through to 7.30am. There were a couple of stops during the night including 40 minutes at the city of Kazan (6th biggest in Russia), but we weren’t disturbed much and the gentle rocking of the train on a comfy bed did the trick and we awoke for a nice cup of (English) tea feeling refreshed.

    Now after the Providnista the most important thing on the train is the Samovar, a piece of equipment housed in every compartment which provides a constant source of boiling water for travellers to use for tea, coffee, soups, pot noodles etc. These are a long standing tradition on Russian trains and the water is still heated by a coal burning boiler which sends the water through the carriages at over 100F.

    Life on the train during the day is enjoyable. Looking at the views of the countryside (no shortage of trees) and seeing village life passing by makes the time drift by. Most people leave their compartment doors open daytime so you pass acquaintances and are able to get a view on both sides of the train and stretch your legs. By the way, sorry to disappoint some of John’s friends, but the toilet is absolutely fine and kept spotlessly clean by our Providnista, with hot and cold running water.

    By the way, much to our surprise (following our negative pre-trip research), our compartment has it’s own power sockets so we have been able to keep all of our electrical devices fully charged up. We should mention that we had a real result at the beginning of the trip when we purchased Russian SIM cards for our old iPhones for £12 each - amazingly cheap. This will provide us with unlimited 3G internet throughout our time in the Country. Reception is intermittent away from civilisation but it has allowed us to keep in touch with home regularly via WhatsApp, FaceTime and email and even when we’re on the move.

    Lunch was delivered to our compartment at midday and what should it be.......surprise surprise, exactly the same as dinner last night, a salami starter and chicken with rice. Fortunately we had some mustard with us so mixed it into our meal to make it more palatable. Washed it down with a Budweiser (turn in your grave Lenin) as the only Russian beers left in the bar were a bit too strong for lunchtime drinking.

    Unfortunately the weather forecast has proved accurate and during our journey on Monday the blue sky gradually disappeared until by mid afternoon we were travelling through dark skies and steady rain. As we had unbroken sunshine for 6 days on arrival we will live with a couple of poor days and then hopefully things will pick up again as we travel further east across Siberia later in the week.

    Following lunch it was an afternoon coffee, Picnic bars (a real treat), a bit more reading and then our 26 hour journey was in it’s last couple of hours. Where has that time gone? Our first long train journey has been enjoyable and encouraging.

    Our arrival in Yekaterinburg is 30 minutes late at 8.45pm. We say goodbye to our lovely, but nameless, Providnista and look forward to a swift hotel check-in and quick turnaround before having a meal and drinks in town (we have plans on where to go). Then it’s two busy days of sightseeing before we board our next train.
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  • Day78

    Lake Baikal Dip

    September 17 in Russia ⋅ 🌙 9 °C

    Even K decided that it was essential to have a dip In Lake Baikal as it wasn’t frozen... just freezing ( ? 10-12 degs)
    Off we stripped at a little rocky shore by our accomm ( ignoring the main road above us!!).... and in we went.... just like that!!
    We both went in a few times because it was hyperventilatingly cold but got easier with repetition and breath control!! It was v refreshing!!
    Followed this off with a celebratory bottle of nasty bubbly, crackers and processed cheese squares whilst watching the sunset.... classy birds we r !!!
    Great day at Lake Baikal
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  • Day67

    Trans Siberian Train to Yekaterinburg

    September 6 in Russia ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    We enjoyed our first night/ day on our first Trans Siberian Train (TST).
    It was pretty restless as we had a cabinmate join us at 03.00am but she was v considerate, stowed her stuff as then climbed into her top bunk.
    I’ve had a terrible migraine so I’ve basically spent all night and all day sleeping, not seeing much whilst K has managed to start and finish a book.
    The mystery of last nights missing dinner was solved promptly at 12pm when it turned up today. We realised the attendant must have been asking us what date not what time.... 5.09 or 6.09!!! We thought it was Russian efficiency to the minute!
    We arrived and the guy from our apartment kindly came and met us and walked us the 3 mins to our accommodation which was lucky as would never have found it!!
    We now have 2 nights in Yekaterinburg to explore.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

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