Trans-Siberian: Spirits of St Petersburg

Did you ever own, or covet, or know someone who owned one of those intricate, delicate dolls houses that was painted gorgeous colours, beautifully furnished with luxury upholstery in miniature, and had a teeny tray of buns on the kitchen table? To me, St Petersburg’s historic centre feels like a vast collection of these houses, … Continue reading Trans-Siberian: Spirits of St Petersburg

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Stops on Trans-Siberian: Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Yekaterinburg

Irkutsk is in parts a faded, battered kind of town with a feeling of the Wild West about it. You could almost picture tumbleweed rolling past the peeling shutters on the quiet side streets. But the forlorn old streets are counteracted by a vibrant modern main strip, and a rather grandiose riverfront resplendent with the … Continue reading Stops on Trans-Siberian: Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Yekaterinburg

Trans-Siberian: On the shores of Lake Baikal

The Russian lady is shouting at us and pointing and shouting some more. Six of us are sitting open mouthed like a bunch of market traded fish, as her incomprehensible words spill into our train carriage. Then she suddenly pounces, snatching a bottle of vodka from the hand of our Brazilian companion and huffing away … Continue reading Trans-Siberian: On the shores of Lake Baikal

Trans-Siberian: Ulaan Bataar to Irkutsk

It’s Sunday morning and we’re squashed into Ochidara Temple, one of the few Monasteries in Ulaan Bataar that wasn’t torn down during the Stalinist ‘purging’ of the country. During this period nearly 800 Buddhist temples were destroyed across Mongolia. Our guide Dava has bought us here, driving us out of the Darkhid Valley into the … Continue reading Trans-Siberian: Ulaan Bataar to Irkutsk