In the evening of the 17th of August we boarded the train for our very first long distance ride on the transsiberian railway: 28 hours from Moscow to Yekaterinburg! To say we were pleasantly surprised is an understatement…the train was modern, clean and just way better than expected. (Although a fellow Russian passenger warned us that this was the most luxurious train he had ever been on.. ;))
After a good night sleep (hooray!) and a day full of reading/sleeping/playing games we arrived in Yekaterinburg around 8 pm. Unfortunately our hotel was overbooked, so we had to settle for a hostel with a very, very dirty shower…grr. But anyway: the next morning the sun was shining, it was 30 degrees celsius and we were looking foward to spending our day discovering Yekaterinburg! :)
(Apparently playing a game of cards (10 phase, not poker) in a pub is forbidden, so we had to move to a closed vip room:D)
We came to Yekaterinburg to learn a bit more about the Romanovs and Russia’s fascinating history, so we booked a little tour for our second day. We had the most amazing guide, a historian called Konstantin, who told us everything we wanted to know and more! We first made a stop at the Europ-Asia border (where newlyweds come for goodluck, hence next to the official monument there is a wall of Champagne as well ;)), then went to the two burial sites of the last tsar and his family and servants (the Romanovs) and finished by visiting the newly opened Yeltsin museum (highly recommended!). A very very interesting day!
That evening it was time for our next (even longer) train ride to Krasnoyarsk. 32 hours of eating, sleeping, reading, playing games and of course enjoying the Siberian landscape :)
After a much needed freshening up in our hotel in Krasoyarsk (a grey concrete building which looks like an African Safari lodge on the inside ;)) we headed to Stolby National Park for a 5 hour hike. Felt great to be outdoors after 32 hours on the train!
In a few hours we take anothe train (only 17 hours :)) to Irkutsk near lake Baikal. Very much looking foward to spending a few days near the water!
P.s. Sorry for the long post.. :D
On the 6th of August, after months of planning, booking and dreaming, it was time for our three month trip to Russia, Mongolia, China and Indonesia!
First stop: a two day stay with friends in Warsaw. It was so great to see them again (they left Dubai two years ago), catch up, meet their sweet little girl and in the meantime visit the beautiful city of Warsaw. Perfect start of our trip! (Accidentally deleted my photos of Warsaw…these are phonepics and one photo that somehow survived ;))
After a short 1,5 hour flight, we arrived in Riga on Monday for a 6 hour stopover. Just enough time to have lunch and do a little exploring :). Luckily the centre of Riga is pretty compact, so we managed to see quite a lot in just a few hours (and take a lot of photos ;)).
At 7 pm it was time for our next flight to St. Petersburg! First thing we did when we arrived in Mother Russia? Order a big mac…oops ;) Anyway: after we got ripped off by our taxi driver we arrived in our tiny appartment and fell asleep right away.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were all about exploring big, beautiful, hip St. Petersburg. Highlights: the Hermitage (of course), the Church of the Savior on Spilled blood, the cute little coffeeshops (Candies!), the ballet (Swanlake!) and just the overall ‘imperial’ look and feel of the city. We absolutely loved our time in St. Petersburg and would recommend it to anyone!