The Ride to Mongolia

We were standing at the top of the stairs, looking out over the entire platform where our train to Ulanbaatar was waiting, and we knew already it was going to be a problem. Already the orderly shopping and smoking of normal Russian train stops had been replaced by chaos, people pushing, crowding and hawking. There…

Calm Before the Storm

The ride to Ulan Ude was very smooth. It’s actually one of the best parts of the Trans-Siberian because for two or three hours the track runs alongside Lake Baikal, giving off great views. It was like a long, extended good-bye. On Olkhon, we’d had the chance to dip our toes into its cold waters….

Into the Land of the Omul-Eaters

We took a stop at Irkutsk, like many people do. It must be the most popular stop on the entire Trans-Siberian. We wanted to head to the remote Olkhon Island, in Lake Baikal. A mile deep, holding 20% of the world’s fresh water and no small amount off the world’s powerful nature spirits, Baikal is…

The Krasnoyarsk Story

And then things went off the rails. Not the train, thankfully. That thing just kept on rolling. Coming into Krasnoyarsk, the scenery got prettier. Green rolling hills were dotted with picaresque wooden villages – those villages will truly be emblematic of Siberia for me now. I hadn’t slept more than a couple of hours when…

Rolling Through Siberia

Moscow seems like a very long time ago. We’re east of Novosibirsk on the second leg of the journey, still nine hours out from Krasnoyarsk. We entered Siberia, technically, somewhere just west of Tyumen, which was only a few hours after leaving Ekaterinburg. We toasted with a few beers purchased on the train platform in…

Day One…slow and easy

“It doesn’t feel like we should be that close.” It’s a funny thing to say when you’re still five hours away from your destination, but also funny when you’ve been on the train for 23 hours already. But Sunshine was right. We’d fallen into the rhythm of train life almost instantly, as soon as the…