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Edinburgh – Shanghai

All the rest are peanuts!

Having decided that this year I am definitely going to do “the big train ride”- the Trans-Siberian (or a version of it) I have also taken the decision to share how I get on in a blog. I suspect that if you are reading this you either (a) know me and will be checking in here regularly to see if I am in a hospital or gulag yet, or (b) are considering this trip yourself having stumbled upon me in your search for more knowledge in preparing for your trip. Either way, you are very welcome! Its also my first […]

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Some bedtime reading

Current editions of the two best Trans-Siberian guidebooks Two months ago I had no idea that there were dozens of trains travelling the Trans-Siberian line, and actually there was not one, but at least three major routes. I have since spent hours pouring through pages on the inter web building up a passable schoolboy knowledge of the pros and cons of each route, the types of train, the classes of cabin, and the likelihood that they have working toilets & food that can be eaten. In Trans-Siberian “Desert Island” terms, if I could only have three sources of information for […]

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Finding Igor

I thought once I had chosen the route it would not be too hard to buy a ticket. In fact this has actually been the hardest part of my experience so far. Its not that you can’t get tickets or that travel agents won’t take my money, but its been difficult getting exactly what I want. I ended up speaking to several UK based agents before making progress. Just in case its of help in planning your trip, this was how it went.. Having looked up the best known agents from Seat Sixty-One, I started with Trans-Siberian Experience. Their website […]

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An Idiot Abroad

Its not the sort of programme I have on series link on my Sky box at home, but I have just seen that next week Karl Pilkington will be travelling on the Trans-Siberian as part of his “bucket list”. As he is going through Mongolia from Moscow there is a good chance he is on the train I am looking to use, so I’m going to watch that with interest.. Its on Sky 2 – An Idiot Abroad 2

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Pack a Gorilla..

My Powergorilla charged and ready to go! Its gadget time! Just a few posts and I’m keen to share gadget ideas. One of my early discoveries was that many of the trains running on the Trans-Siberian have very limited power onboard. Some trains apparently have sockets in each compartment, some just one for the whole carriage (it powers the hoover apparently) and maybe one spare in the Provodnitsa’s compartment (a sort of guard commander and cleaner in each carriage, usually female). My requirements are to keep an iPhone, and iPad and a digital camera charged at all times for up […]

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The right image

I’m going to apply for my Trans-Siberian visas next month. I’ll be needing visas for Belrus, Russia, Mongolia and China. The snag is that the Chinese visa only lasts for three months from the date that its issued, whereas I understand the other ones (Russia, Mongolia and Belarus) work on specific dates. More on this in a later post – I’m in the hands of the Real Russia visa team, who so far sound like real experts. Anyway, in preparation for the red tape ahead, I went to get some passport type photos taken yesterday. Thankfully I visited my local […]

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Money!

I popped into M&S yesterday – all nice and shiny now it is the UK’s newest bank. I have always used them for foreign currency as the rates seem pretty reasonable. My quest was actually for US Dollars, and lots of them, in small denomination notes. What I found out was that both Russian Roubles and Chinese Yuan are no longer restricted currencies, so I also got some landing currency for both of these countries – and they were in stock there and then in the branch. The Mongolian Tourag remains restricted, so I’ll have to do something on the […]

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An Idiot Abroad 2

The Space Simulator at “Star City”, near Moscow Did you see An Idiot Abroad on Sky this week? Personally I wasn’t sure what to expect, but there was actually only limited footage shot on the train itself. From what I could see Karl wasn’t on Train no. 4 as I had expected he might be – the first class wasn’t the SV (“luxury”) type.. you can tell as it would have had a chair and a door to a shared bathroom between two compartments.. I suspect second and third class were quite similar though. Train no. 6 perhaps? I liked […]

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The best connections

My small collection of Trans-Siberian adaptors and cables I have spent quite a bit of time trying to find out what sort of power there will be on the train. It would seem that some of the more modern carriages are equipped with a socket in every compartment, whereas others have just one shared socket in the corridor for the purposes of hoovering, plus maybe one in the Provnitsa’s private quarters..hopefully for use with a small payment. My thinking is firstly to have a back up source of charging my devices (see my post this month on the fantastic Power […]

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Emergency rations

Rations for Leg One – Amsterdam – Moscow I’m not convinced that I have enough food. My first journey is from Amsterdam to Moscow, two nights and one day. The train booking for the EN447 (D25/402) says that the attendant will sell “snacks” on board, but I have no idea what that means..or if there will be a samovar to provide boiling water (I’m not sure if you can eat a Pot Noodle without water?) Good coffee is a high priority for me, so I’m carrying a cheap plastic filter cone, unbleached papers and tinned ground coffee beans. You can […]

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