OR, LAKE BAIKAL WITH ITS -40 WIND CHILL IS REALLY NIPPY!
Alert: Just wanted to look back on my Trans Siberian Express adventure birdies. I can say it was a truly magnificent solo trip and very suitable for lone travellers. The beauty of seeing the huge terrain, art and culture keeps one busy and happy with no loneliness creeping in. Links of various places are available when underlined and in bold type.
Just because it’s cold and wintry we are all complaining, normally we would welcome this for the festive season but our heightened awareness of the rip-off bills that will ensue. Escape with me on trips when I thrilled at all bracing weather as I knew it would be toasty wherever I was staying.
I had left in February so knew it would be a winter viewing of the harshest time of the year but I loved every brutal minute. I know that Russia is being demonised at the moment but I was talking to a lovely lady the other day who was desperate to get on that magnificent choo-choo before she dies.
So here I recall a previous reminder of those chilly trips until my next trip actual to Turkey in January. Enjoy the frostiness and the ride!
ARE YOU MAD REBECCA?!!!..COLD, COLD PLACES AND HOW TO PREPARE.
…NO I’M NOT. A LOT OF YOU WILL ONLY WANT AND FEEL SAFE TO TRAVEL MUCH LATER THIS YEAR AND YOU SHOULD PREPARE FOR YOUR….
Alert: This is from a page on my site with bits added. It’s to get you old girls prepped up for colder trips when the travelling will have become a lot laxer again hopefully. Until then get yourself ready and take note from this post the way to approach any cold trip. There are links all the way through to help a bit
Hurry up! It’s soon time for your Nippy Trip……
This was the hardest type of travelling to get right, especially when entering hot places later. Rule of thumb is to travel in your thick and heavy clothes and have your layering clothes in the case. As usual, you will carry your precious things, laptop, IPad and batteries wires etc, your camera and heavy extras in your rucksack. Normally they want your carry-on suitcase that is not over 8 kg. This is MUCH MORE THAN YOU IMAGINE!
I had my Russian military coat for that trip, which was superb. Most of the time I only needed a long-sleeved T-shirt underneath and the usual double layer of fleecy leggings. Good quality gloves, thick natural wool socks specialist boots for freezing conditions. Apart from leggings, thermal t-shirts and your underwear a big knitted zipper jacket with a fleece lining. Some thin t-shirts and a cotton shirt and trousers for the train which is super hot. All clothing should be easily put on and taken off in layers.
The boots should be able to slip on if you leave the laces loosely tied. Take a light smart shirt and trousers in case you do fancy a night out, (It’ll never happen, you’ll be too knackered) and trainers. Flip flops are handy for the train and hotter places you go later. Finally your hat, your lovely warm furry hat. My ushanka saved my face in Siberia one day when the wind chill went down to -40.
Now while on this insane trip I was hit by temperatures of -40 degrees. This means frostbite in literally a couple of minutes. That folks, started on this old birds walk back to the hotel. At Lake Baikal when I walked into the wind returning to the hotel on the lakeside road, I felt my cheeks turn numb and the hairs in my nose froze. I had been told to keep pinching my cheeks if this happened and get into the warm. I did exactly that and saw in the mirror, of a little bar come restaurant, my exposed cheeks were purple. I mean proper purple. My whole body was warm as toast including hands and feet but the area I had not managed to cover in that freezing wind had suffered its purple fate. The wind being to my back on the outward walk had lulled me into a false sense of security. As I sat squeezing my nose, which made alarming crunching noises due to the frozen nasal hair. I pondered my arrogance of the people I had seen earlier, who were wearing what looked like wrestling masks only exposing their eyes through slits, thinking there’s no fool like an old fool.
Trans Siberian Nippy Bits.
My trip that started in St. Petersburg went on through Moscow, Irkutsk, Lake Baikal, Mongolia’s Ulaanbaatar, Beijing. Then I went on to slightly warmer climes in Vietnam and finally Central Thailand (boiling!) so I experienced the bitter cold, then in Hanoi a damper milder cold going on to Nha Trang for fierce dry heat, then Ayuthera fog hugely humid killing heat. So packing for this trip was a challenge. I sadly gifted my furry boots and leggings and sweaters to the lovely girl at the hotel only keeping my Russian military coat that had been fabulous and had to come home with me. In Nha Trang I bought cheap bits and went snorkelling for three days. This last case of clothes would be used til the end of the trip.
Budapest (no blog yet!)
Now obviously you don’t have to go so far afield. I have not written my Central European and other potentially nippy-trip blogs, they are still in my hand-written journals, so I can’t link you to the European bits and any short trips like Ireland, I went more or less with the clothes I was standing in.
Cold trip list.
- long windproof warm coat
- 1 hooded zipper cardigan jacket with fleece lining
- specialist boots
- ushanka and good gloves
- 5 varied thermal and non-thermal t-shirts
- 3 pairs of furry leggings and 2 pairs of loose trousers
- loose light tracksuit bottoms and top for the train cabin lounging
- very light posh top and thin trousers for evening wear
- smart trainers
- 2 sports bras and 5 pairs of pants
- Medical kit. Pain killers, Lemsips, eye drops, nasal spray, plasters, a good supply of any medications you’re on and multi-vitamins. See your doctor before the trip for a medical and consult.
On all my trips I take my trusty IPad and laptop on which I make all my bookings and watch downloaded films and listen to audiobooks.
REMEMBER YOUR BUMBAG WILL HAVE YOUR PASSPORT AND ANY IMPORTANT PAPERS, YOUR PURSE WITH SOME FOREIGN CURRENCY AND EMERGENCY MONEY, YOUR PHONE AND VERY IMPORTANTLY, YOUR DEBIT OR CREDIT CARDS. YOU MUST INFORM YOUR BANK AS TO WHERE YOU’RE GOING AND FOR HOW LONG SO THEY DON’T CANCEL YOUR CARD WHILST YOU’RE AWAY. THE ATM IS YOUR MAIN FRIEND ABROAD!