Glad to be in Vladivostok

End of the TransSiberian at Vladivostok, 9288km

25-26 March 2010

We awake to the sight of a frozen Amursky Gulf as we approach Vladivostok. Our expectations are high as Paris said it is much more beautiful than Khabarovsk. Our host stay is a little out from downtown but we walk, stopping at an orthodox church, the Golden Horn harbor area and home to icebreakers, the Russian Pacific fleet, a Russian sub, war memorial, and memorial to the soldiers of Civil War.

We pilgrimaged to the train station for memorial photos with an engine that was given to Russia in 1942 as part of the Lend-Lease program and with the 9288km marker of the TransSiberian Railroad. That’s 5805 miles of Russian railroad, birch trees, snow, and clickity-clack. It was well worth the trip.


Impressive Khabarovsk

21-24 March 2010

Bright, sunny, freezing cold, an occasional falling dagger disguised as an icicle. Ice crystals sparkling on the snow. It may be spring for Siberian locals but butt-freezing to this California girl.

As our train approaches Khabarovsk we see rolling hills, lots of rivers, and small villages of wooden houses. Most industry I see is logging and everywhere there are truck tracks over the ice and snow. The basic wooden house has not changed across nearly 4000 miles. Russian architecture (more…)

Trans-Siberian to Ulan-Ude

18-20 March 2010

A sort of Jack London day in Siberia. We left Irkutsk for a scenic train ride around the southern end of Lake Baikal. Sharing our car with several cooing birds riding the rails to Vladivostok. All we can tell from the man who transports them is they definitely are not destined for a plate. Once again we are served water and a nice bowl of Borscht. The train is #350, slower and older, but a nice ride. Many fishermen on the ice, ice pressure ridges, and cars out on the ice. The lake is immense – the largest in Europe. It is a huge expanse of snow-covered ice with high mountains in the distance. (more…)

Trans-Siberian to Lake Baikal

13-17  March 2010

Siberian snow-covered village

Somewhere crossing Siberia with flat land for miles, trees and more trees, lots of snow interspersed with huge villages of small wooden homes. This #2 train is top class but to get to the next wagon we cross thru an open space where the steel plates are frosted over from the cold. Russians appear to like living in hot enclosed spaces as they shut the doors and draw the curtains to a cabin that must be 80 degrees. (more…)

Trans-Siberian to Shadrinsk

11-12 March 2010

Looks cold and probably averaging 20 degrees with 3 feet of pristine snow as we pass thru the undulating hills of the Urals on our way to Shadrinsk. We are about 940 km out of Moscow (all time and distance is in comparison to Moscow) and it is sunny with blue sky. People are walking to work as we pass thru villages. The air is clear and I note no pollution. Many little houses of greens, blues, and yellows and many local dachas. We are learning what the locals mean when they say “Moscow is not Russia.” (more…)