Category archives for Russia

Vodka, long train rides, little sleep and beautiful landscapes…

Pic’ in the Picture: Moscow time please!

This picture was taken in Moscow, Russia and shows the one and only so-called “Moscow Time”. Russia is a country so big, that it incorporates 11 time zones: from GMT+2 to GMT+12. Therefore, in order to keep track a bit, and to make it easier for everybody (somebody in Moscow certainly thought), trains tables, departures and arrivals are always indicated with the Moscow time. So if you are in Irkutsk and your train ticket says a departure at 17h15, this means in reality a departure of 22h15 local time as Irkutsk is 5 hours ahead of Moscow. However, keep in mind that trains that don’t cross time-zones (local trains), go on local time! So if your ticket says 17h15, it is indeed 17h15… Easy once you understand it, but until then, you might be in for some surprises.
Moscow Time!

Moscow Time

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Crossing the Russian-Mongolian border

On the 29th of August we left Irkutsk by train for the capital of Mongolia: Ulaan Baatar. We were quite excited about it, because going to Mongolia had been a thing we had been dreaming about for many years. :-)

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Hiking along the most beautiful lake in the world!

We just got back from a 2 times 2-day hike close to the Baikal Lake (2 times 2-days as we had to make a “blister-stop” in between to give Vera’s feet some rest…). Lake Baikal is the biggest lake in the world and the deepest one: it contains 1/5 of all fresh water in the world (to give you an idea, it is about twice the surface of Holland – yes I know we are small…). The landscapes are just magnificient and cannot be compared to any region we have visited until now.

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Going Russian in the Altai Region


This morning we arrived in the Altai region with the overnight bus from Novosibirsk. The night had been quite long as the departure was at 23h00 and then there were several stops on the way at which every Russian went outside (desperate to smoke, or, even more desperate, to buy their beer or vodka). This “night” added to the previous “night” in the Trans-Siberian (in which it got pretty cold, so we did not get that much sleep neither as we were freezing our buttocks off) made that we were kind of dead when the bus finally dropped us off at campsite “Globus Plus” in the Altai Region. It was the first time since the beginning of our trip that it was raining like hell also and therefore we decided to catch up with some sleep in our UNHEATED (!!!) cottage (it was quite cold, like 8 degrees and everything pretty wet, so that did not help a lot). We were on some kind of campsite with wooden cottages, providing basic equipment (basically a bed and sheets, showers and toilets were shared in some cabin (yes also outside and cold in the pouring rain)). :-)
After a 3 hour “beauty nap” it actually stopped raining and thus we went out to have a look around. The surroundings were absolutely great: mountains, lots of trees and a beautiful, very long river that we walked along for a little while until things even got better because guess what??? The sun came out!!! :-) It even actually got too hot! (Yeah we know, never happy, always complaining…). ;-)
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How to make simple tasks soooo difficult!!

Some tasks are just very simple, like for example buying stamps at a post office. Even in Spain or Italy, if you do not manage to speak a word of the local language, you just show up with your postcards, point at the place where the stamp should be and there is a big chance they will understand.

Not in Russia…

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Transsiberian Railroad Tales

Around midnight we find ourselves at a train station in the middle of Moscow, amidst other travelers (mostly Russian) and looking at some board indicating the platforms for departing trains. We are at the Yaroslavsky Vokzal also called the Leningradsy Vokzal and still another name for a local station towards the suburbs. However, the metro station to get there is called Komsomolskaya or Kalanchevskaya. Still get it?

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Visiting Moscow

Today we visited the Kremlin and the Red Square, or at least the parts that we were allowed to visit. The inside of the Kremlin is very nice with a central place on which you can see a lot of churches (unfortunately we are starting to get a little bit fed up with all the church thins everywhere, in some way they all start looking the same) and other nice buildings. Directly on the left after the entrance there is the arsenal with some captured canons of Napoleon times.

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We are sitting in a 4th class carriage with only Russians around us, en route from St.Petersburg to Moscow. We left St.Petersburg this afternoon after a few great days spent there. With its great musea, public gardens and open spaces it definitely is a great destination. As we were there for 5 days we had quite enough time to get a good impression of St.Petersburg, but we would have needed more time to take everything in as the city is huge and distances are long.

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