Not being the conventional type, I like to experience something a bit out of the ordinary. I also happen to find myself with 3 weeks free in January (after exams, before new job). The solution of how to experience most in a tight economic climate? The Trans Mongolian Express of course!
I researched flights, also considering spots like Cuba / Mexico / Peru etc. The most cost-effective turned out to be out to Beijing and home from St. Petersburg. In-between I will experience the cities (and towns) of Ulaan Bator in Mongolia, Irktutsk in Siberia and Moscow, as well as the aforementioned Beijing and St. Petersburg. With the weather in most of these places reaching -20 degrees, funnily enough it’s not the most popular time of year to take this trip. But this also means I’ll see Siberia as nature intended, walk on Lake Baikal (20% of the worlds fresh water supplies) when it’s frozen over, and in-between keep warm on cheap Russian vodka.
I had intended on taking this trip solo, but a scant recollection of a conversation with a buddy a long time ago reminded me that this was a trip he had always wanted to do. So a short telephone conversation later and he was in. Below is a photo of our intrepid travellers, mentally prepoaring themselves for the hardships and 8,000km+ of toasty (I hope) train journeys in steerage class which lie ahead:
-Brian and Robbie
As you can see, Robbie has the beard already, I’ve got plenty of work to do to catch him. $5 hostels and Siberia await….