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Posts tagged ‘trans-siberian’

A morning in Vladimir

Vladimir was a very pleasant, lovely city. It felt lived-in and comfortable, and I greatly enjoyed walking its tree-lined streets. The weather is still warm–hot even–but leaves are falling and paths are yellow with them. Autumn is my favorite time of year, and the morning in Vladimir was a perfect autumn morning. Read more

Nizhny Novgorod and fancy trains

We took a night train from Kazan to Nizhny Novgorod, getting on the train around 9:30 and arriving in Nizhny Novgorod around 8:00 the next morning. This didn’t give us a lot of time to appreciate the full fanciness of the train we were on. (A TV! Working temperature control! Snazzy fold-up seats/beds! Practically modern bathrooms!) It also didn’t give us much time to ruminate on the amazing experience that was Kazan, which really was too bad for Nizhny Novgorod. (This city would have been much more enjoyable had it followed the three-day train ride from Irkutsk.) Read more

I’ve fallen in love with Kazan

What can I say about Kazan?

It is a beautiful city. Perhaps the most beautiful I’ve ever visited. Kazan didn’t quite manage to overshadow everything I experienced in Mongolia, but I no longer feel like Mongolia was completely without rival. Kazan makes a play for the gold. Read more

Sweating on the Great Baikal Trail

Early in the planning of this trip, a mention in my guidebook of the Great Baikal Trail caught my eye. This long distance hiking trail is a work in progress, created by volunteers and extended each summer. The plan is to eventually have a trail that circumnavigates all of Lake Baikal. As I understand it, the full trail is not yet complete, but there are sections that are and every year volunteers help maintain and extend the trail. More here.

From the start, I wanted to hike a section of the trail. There is a section of the trail that is approximately 24 kilometers long that goes between Listvyanka and Bolshie Koty. The difficulty was in figuring out the logistics: given time limitations, could we find our way back from Bolshie Koty after a hike in time to pick up our luggage and make it back to Irkutsk and our train? Read more


Irkutsk was our first stop in Russia. Although we’d seen the Siberian landscapes unfolding past the train window for the past day, I did not really feel like I was in Russia Until I was walking around Irkutsk, taking in the beautiful architecture, hearing Russian spoken by the passersby, pulling my scarf from my bag in the evening chill. Both Steve and I enjoyed Irkutsk, though we saw only a small portion of the city. My guidebook tells me that there is plenty more that we missed. Read more