March 17, 2011

Breaking the ice

I disembark from the train at 6:15am at Irkutsk.  In the last 24 hours the cabin next to mine has been occupied by two police officers (the police seem to use the railways extensively) – they spend their time watching […]
March 16, 2011

Camping for boys

Today is my last full day on board the #2 Moscow-Vladivostok train and there is a touch of cabin fever in the air.  The carriage is comfortable and warm and, because it is low season, not particularly overcrowded.  However, there […]
March 15, 2011

Fascinating facts file –Vol 1

Sometime during the night we passed over the Ural mountains and through Ekaterinberg (famous for being the birthplace of Boris Yeltsin and where the Tsar and his family were murdered in a basement); we have therefore now, formally passed into […]
March 14, 2011

The odd couple

Train number six takes me from Moscow to Irkutsk and is the longest single leg of the journey.  As I will spend four days on this train I find myself wishing for an interesting and personable companion to share my […]
March 12, 2011

Lenin is being washed

It’s Saturday morning and I have roughly 24 hours to “do” Moscow.  My guide is Lena, a Muscovite schoolteacher who works part time as a tour guide. She is articulate and funny and talks about Russia with dry humour.  She […]
March 11, 2011

Why the toilets are shut.

At 1am we cross the border into Belarus.  The train attendants wake us up and the border guards come on board to check passports.  There is a long wait while they make their way through the train during which time, […]
March 11, 2011

Get well Steve!

I have just learned that my friend and talented musician, Steve Dagleish is unwell and in hospital.  Get well soon Steve, we have need of your music back!
March 10, 2011

Anoraknophobia!

I have decided I like trains.  Not in a geeky sort of way; I am hopefully a long way from wanting to stand at the end of a cold platform and write down engine numbers as a substitute for having […]
March 9, 2011

My hovercraft is full of eels…

My first day of solitary travelling and already I am on my fourth train; the Belgian countryside is rolling past the window; cars are driving on the right and I am starting to feel hungry.  All of which means that […]
March 6, 2011

On Wednesday I leave for Siberia…

…and how often can you say that? When I broached the subject with my wife she was very understanding.  “I want to go to Siberia,” I said.  “I want to make the journey without going on an aircraft and to […]