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The Trans-Siberian Railway: All the posts in order

I posted a lot during my trip. Here are all the posts, in order. Read more

Walking and shopping in Minsk

The jokester in me sits giggling in the corner and suggesting that I explain the long delay in this final post with a long adventure yarn having to do with my entry status in Belarus. But I’m typing this from my couch in Denver, having had precisely zero issues with my lack of an entry stamp when leaving Belarus. Read more

I’m just slightly concerned that I’m in Minsk illegally

We got one the train in Moscow and I fell asleep almost instantly. On every other train we’ve taken, the train attendant carefully scrutinized our passports before allowing us aboard, verifying our names there with the names on our tickets. This time, the train attendant didn’t even open our passports. She didn’t glance at our visas to ensure that we were entering Belarus legally. (And believe me there was no question we were Americans.) She just glanced at our tickets and waved us on the train. Read more

24 hours in Moscow

We had always planned a brief stop in Moscow. It’s one of the major cities along the Trans-Siberian route (obviously) and a highlight for many travelers, but it’s also a city that’s relatively easy to come back to. I’m far less likely to make my way back to Irkutsk, or Kazan, than to Moscow. So in the initial planning Moscow got only about 12 hours; off the train from Vladimir in the morning, and back on the train to Minsk the same night.

But one of the nice things about buying our tickets as we go is that we get to change plans. And so we decided to spend Monday night in Moscow rather than Vladimir. That gave us a full 24 hours (really more like 28) in Moscow, although not all were waking hours. Read more

Suzdal is beautiful but unreal

Once upon a time, Suzdal was the center of Russia. It was the capital when Moscow was a tiny backwater town, and for a while Suzdal had all the wealth and power….and then it didn’t. Suzdal was left out during much of the growth and prosperity of the last several hundred years, failing even to get its own railway line. To reach Suzdal, we had to take a bus from Vladimir. For a while, Suzdal became a sort of craftsman center. Then it reinvented itself as at center for tourism. Read more