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ULAANBAATAR CAPITAL OF MONGOLIA.

OR MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH MONGOLIA AND IT’S PEOPLE

I only spent four days here but I fell in love with it and it’s people. I arrived at six in the morning and got a cab using some euros I had (you can’t get currency outside) The drive to the central square was about three minutes! The cabby was a ruddy faced lovely chap and I was impressed at how helpful he tried to be with very little English! My hotel, the Khuvsgul Lake Hotel was a sheer delight. A tall building overlooking the square, a brand new no frills place that had frills!

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IRKUTSK AND THE NEXT TRAIN BIT TO ULAANBATAAR.

OR NOT THE PARIS OF SIBERIA. LET’S GET BACK ON THE TRAIN AGAIN:(

I wanted to love Irkutsk, so many times labelled the Paris of Siberia. However I ended up feeling apathetic about it. The cab had been late picking me up from Listvyanka so I was all of a tizz and had made my plans in a shoddy anxious way having expected to have the full day there and seeing it slip away from me.

Weird hotel breakfast obviously for the Chinese tourists and there were a lot! I missed it as I was running for train
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ON TO MOSCOW.

OR A VERY DIFFERENT RUSSIA.

From elegant Tsarist St Petersburg to hardcore Kremlin Moscow!! Very different but also very exciting. I’d never visited before and my early morning train ride had been superb. We are now getting towards the trainy bit, the big bad boy, the Trans Siberian Express. This is the modern train bit!

ALERT! Just had my yellow fever jab and got a Peppa Pig plaster for being brave! Roll on Colombia at the end of August. I’ll finally experience going live!!

ST. PETERSBURG STATION ON A VERY CHILLY MORNING
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THE STATE RUSSIAN MUSEUM ST. PETERSBURG.

OR AU REVOIR Санкт-Петербург JE TAIME!!

The State Russian Museum is the world’s largest collection of Russian art, housed in a unique architectural complex in the historical centre of St Petersburg. This is my last day here and I have a big snowy hike ahead of me.

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ST. PETERSBURG ROCKS!

OR OF TZARS AND PALACES and THE HERMITAGE AND ALL THINGS GLITTERY AND GOLD.

“There are five buildings associated with the Hermitage including the Menshikov Palace. I’m going to them all with my plans for the day on a bit of paper clutched in my sweaty fist. I had prepared with military precision how I would attack this day and was sure of making it magnificent and as tourist-free as possible!!” From my diary

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ST PETERSBURG IS CLOSED!

OR MY BIG FIRST DAY DESPITE HOLIDAY CLOSURES!

Pure happiness next morning. Snuggling under my quilt perusing the heavy snow through the window and already planning my day. Winter wonderland had a serious number of places for nerdy me to see, but when I started checking I saw that most places were closed until tomorrow. Was this a big Russian vodka hangover? No, Monday is a dodgy day for a lot of countries so bear it in mind before getting ahead of yourself.

VIEW FROM OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVER TO MY YELLOW HOTEL. ST. ISAACS’ CATHEDRAL AT THE BACK