OR MY BIG BRAND NEW ADVENTURE!
I changed from South America to making the Trans Siberian Express journey and around Asia! Choo choo! And yikes very cold!
The Xmas miracle fell in my lap. I saw an ad for the Trans Siberian Express completely by accident and, as they say, the rest was history. The hysterical planning of a complex trip had begun and I was ecstatic. The challenge and logistics huge. It would be a mother to cobble together but so worth it. I would be able to leave in late January 2019. This gave me time to organise visas and the train tickets through a specialist agent allowing for the Russian holiday times. Thank you so much Scotts Visas, and Robert Lourens, who was a star to put it together for me so quickly over the Xmas period.
And a BIG thank you to my lovely Yuriy and Real Russia who organised the complex Trans Siberian Railway trip. I was breaking it up into three parts, Moscow to Irkutsk, Irkutsk to Ulaanbaatar and finally Ulaanbaatar to Beijing and a coordinated cab from Irkutsk to Lake Baikal. Phew, he was a genius and I could have never done it without him. Cheers Yuriy! More on Real Russia later.
I would get over there whilst relatively tourist-free for the duration so be able to truly enjoy the places I was visiting. ( A little “yeah right” here too. I ended up arriving in Beijing neatly in time for the extended Chinese new year) I also had never organised a really cold foray. I wanted to go somewhere so bitterly cold that in the winter your nose hair froze. I wanted to buy a new expensive wardrobe for that weather and I wanted to try proper Russian borsch!!! I needed this new challenge!
Flexibility is everything when you’re planning journeys and booking stuff on the hoof and alone. You have to let go of things that don’t work out. No problem! Water off ducks back. Excuse the birdy reference!
The hysterical planning of a complex trip had begun and I was ecstatic. The challenge and logistics were huge. It would be a mother to cobble together but so worth it. I wanted to be able to leave in late January 2019. This gave me time to organise visas and the train tickets through a specialist agent -Scotts Travels- allowing for the Russian holiday times. I would get over there whilst relatively tourist-free for the duration so be able to truly enjoy the places I was visiting. ( A little yeah right here too. I ended up arriving in Beijing neatly in time for the extended Chinese new year) I also had never organised a really cold foray. It would involve very imaginative packing even for me! My usual tiny cabin suitcase and petite rucksack would still be used so I would have to wear the bulky heavy stuff.
So I would fly to St Petersburg first (on the Liberation of Leningrad Day, 75th anniversary, as it transpired) stay there for a few days to visit the magnificent Hermitage and the palaces, drop into Faberge and generally look at gorgeous things darling! Next, I would take the train to Moscow (I organised that when I got there) stay a couple of days for Red Square etc (I was winging this bit, I didn’t organise anything till my last night in St Petersburg). Then, of course, I would go to board the Trans Siberian Express.
Then I would be on the train for over three days until I arrived in Irkutz, from there I had organised a taxi to take me to Lake Baikal for two days return to Irkutz for a night then back on the train to Mongolia. four days there then my last part of the train journey to Beijing! Phew!
After that, I was winging it. I wanted to go to the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China before flying to Xian to see the Terracotta Army. Then I would see where else I wanted to go in China (you’ll see how I changed my plans on that leg later) before hitting Vietnam and vaguely making my way back to Bangkok and flying back to London!
The way I figured it was, once I had finished with the train I would travel slowly down China, discarding my furry leggings and thick socks flinging them over my shoulders as I eventually got to warmer climes. Going down from north to south Vietnam would be a huge difference in temperature. At that point I would have to carry my coat as I went along and sweat it out flying in my faux leather culottes and boots. Sweaty but do-able. I would work out the rest later. I would wing it after that part of the journey in my usual fashion!
BELOW ARE SOME OF THE SHOTS ON THIS NEW TRIP! FROM NIPPY TO HOT AND WET!!!!
I’ve drastically changed trips a few times, the most notable being when I was planning to go to Scotland and I ended up going to Thailand. The Scottish Tourist board had moved from Trafalgar Square without telling anyone, so when I walked down from Soho I was frustrated. Any old bird knows this is NOT on. There was however the Thai Tourist board upstairs so I went in and the girl was very helpful so I trotted of and an hour later I had my ticket booked for Chiang Mai! These changes are good for a solo traveller they keep you flexible and not freaked by a change in plans however dramatic.
This would mean I could see my pals for an au revoir and then plan and exercise and clothes shop for the time up to my departure A couple of art gallery private views could be squeezed in along with visits to the British Museum. Perfick.
This would push my solo trip experience to the limit!
OVER AND OUT! Rebecca
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