Page 7 of golfkat Travel Blog Posts


Europe » Russia » Siberia » Omsk May 10th 2014

I have heard various things about Russian food, mostly bad. But I hear and observe there is more to Russian cuisine than borsch and chicken Kiev. The main goal of trying Russian food involves eating most of my meals AWAY from the train, and its dining car. Train food has been stuck back in the 1950s, unless there has been a radical change in the last year or so. When a Russian eats at home, their first meal of the day may include fruit and cheese, eggs, bread, jam, kefir (sour yogurt drink), tvorog (cottage cheese), or kasha (porridge). Lunch and dinner may consist of at least three courses. Zakuski is the name of Russian hors d'oeuvres that may include some or all of the following delicacies: sausage, cold meat, salmon, pickled herring, pate', tomato salad, ... read more

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Ulan-Ude May 10th 2014

It seems like Russians are always drinking something, if not beer and vodka, then a cup of tea. Tea is more popular than coffee, and often served black with a spoonful sugar or jam. Most coffee is instant, and it may require a visit to a decent local café for a decent cup of coffee. It was introduced to Russians by Peter the Great back in the 17th century. Bottled mineral water is also available almost everywhere, and is usually carbonated. I am told to avoid tap water in St. Petersburg since it has giardia. And everywhere in the world, Coca Cola is available, along with home-grown versions such as Takhun. But on the train, boiled water is available from the samovars in each carriage. One good tip I received by reading these travel books is ... read more

Europe » Russia » Far East » Vladivostok May 9th 2014

I met two of the nicest people on the first leg of this trip. Janet, a retired teacher from Kalamazoo, and Michael, a young programmer from Zurich. I am using Janet's ipad since my computer will not work. And Michael was my cabin mate from Khabarovsk to Irkutsk. The famous Trans Siberian Railway stretches almost 10,000 kilometers from Moscow to the Pacific port of Vladivostok. This is the chance to see the Russia that the Cold War never uncovered. This is the Russia with curious and twinkly eyed Russians, dressed in track suits, curious to know the foreigner who is crazy or passionate enough to tackle their Mother country from one side to the other by train. The Russians will offer all sorts of food and drink, a truly generous lot of humanity that we know ... read more
Can you believe this is First Class?
I found some scret COLD beer!

Europe » Russia » Far East » Khabarovsk May 9th 2014

I forgot to send this when I departed Vladivostok. My new Swiss friend, Michael was here for two days. He thought the chocolate here was almost as good as his own Swiss chocolate. But imagine his concern when I told him that Ecuador produces most of the raw chocolate in the world! One of the first interesting cities upon leaving the Pacific Ocean and Vladivostok, is Khabarovsk. It sits a mere 25 kilometers from the Chinese border. They say it has a Mediterranean feel, with tree-lined streets, and even squares with fountains. But here, we cross the mighty Amur River. And they even serve sushi in honor of the Japanese business traveler. The city is said to have an international feel. This might be hard to ascertain form the train. Khabarovsk was founded in 1858 as ... read more

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Ulan-Ude May 9th 2014

Siberia has an area 4,784,034 square meters, or 1.5 times greater than Europe, 2.5 times larger than Russia in Europe, and more than 40 times larger than the UK of Britain and Ireland. It extends form the Ural Mountains on the west to the Sea of Japan. And from the Arctic Ocean on the north to China on the south. Siberia is especially rich in minerals, including gold, silver, lead, copper, iron, coal, and graphite. The climate of Siberia runs to extremes of both heat and cold. The winter is long and the air is dry except of the east coast. January is coldest, July is hottest. I am glad to be going in May, before mosquito season as well. The great majority of inhabitants are Russians, including free immigrants (both peasants and Cossacks), The Turkish ... read more

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar May 9th 2014

Time does not permit me to take the recommended side trip into Mongolia, and the famous Naadam Festival, held from July 11 to 13 each year. I will miss this great festival by about two months. It is the biggest and most important of the Mongolian festivals. Its roots go back thousands of years, and focuses on three manly games: wrestling, archery, and horse racing, three skills considered vital to survival in ancient times. Typically, the festival starts off with a big, festive parade, carnival, and opening ceremony in the stadium. Most events are free, except for the opening and closing ceremonies. Smaller Naadams take place around the country, and offer a better chance to get close or even participate. img=https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ0ZbVEGfCBXkyLwopZQZEL-o5QNQwS0-4hD3WPrB_78FXaIh73 img=https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTKEkZUO8acqZGQx0... read more

Europe » Russia » Far East » Yakutsk May 9th 2014

On his Trans Siberian Railway journey, famous author and traveler Paul Theroux wrote about the leg to Khabarovsk. "The countryside then was so changeless it might have been a picture pasted against the window." He says it put him to sleep. We shall see what happens to me, since this leg occurs near the start of my trip. It was near the end of his trip, over the famous Amur River. They were scurrying to catch flights or ferries. Not me, I am just settling in for the journey. I hope by now, I have met some eastern Russians. And I wonder who I will be sharing my roomette with? Better yet, what will I find in the way of food? Will it be boiled chicken and boiled potatoes? And how well will I sleep at ... read more

Europe » Russia » Far East » Khabarovsk May 9th 2014

This information comes from the Trans Siberian Railway Web Encyclopaedia. How many Railways do you know that have their own paedia? 1. The real distance, calculated from Moscow to Vladivostok in 9288.2 kilometers. 2. The coldest place, located between Mogocha (6906 km, the distances are from Moscow*), and Skovorodino (7306 km) is a rather chilly -62 degrees C. 3. The highest point (1040 km) is the Yablonovy Mountain pass (6110 km) located between Yablonovaya and Turgutui. 4. The lowest point occurs between Amursky Zaliv (9252 km) and Ugolnaya (9253 km) when the route nears the Pacific Ocean. 5. The steepest descent, between Adrianovskaya and Slyudyanka-2 (5305 km) is when the railroad drops 400 meters. 6. The longest bridge is the 2616 meter Amur Bridge (8512 km). img=https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRSfsLcWrrZTWe4oYSJQ2pfeHyCpo1UoAmXNoOG... read more

Europe » Russia » Far East » Komsomolsk-Na-Amure May 8th 2014

One of the first interesting cities upon leaving the Pacific Ocean and Vladivostok, is Khabarovsk. It sits a mere 25 kilometers from the Chinese border. They say it has a Mediterranean feel, with tree-lined streets, and even squares with fountains. But here, we cross the mighty Amur River. And they even serve sushi in honor of the Japanese business traveler. The city is said to have an international feel. This might be hard to ascertain form the train. Khabarovsk was founded in 1858 as a military outpost by Count Nikolai Muravyov (later Muravyov-Amursky), while he was taking the Amur region back from the (Fu) Manchus. I am not sure if he made them shave or just skinned them alive. The Trans Siberian Railway arrived from Vladivostok in 1897, though it did not reach Moscow until 1913. ... read more

Europe » Russia » Far East » Vladivostok May 8th 2014

(from a TSR Travel Brochure) By the Numbers The numbers alone are hard to grasp. Depending on where you begin and end, the Trans-Siberian is: About 6,000 mileslong 80 train stationsalong the way 160 hoursof pure journey time 7 (sometimes 8) time zones- that's one-third of the world 3 countries: Russia, Mongolia, China The Trans-Siberian took 12 years to build - not bad, all things considered. The most famous route - the classic Moscow-Vladivostok - has been running since 1916. Planning took 25 years. Construction officially began in 1891 when heir to the throne Nicholas II personally blessed the beginning of work on the rail line in Vladivostok. The Russian government didn... read more




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