Madeleine Yates


Madeleine Yates

Europe » Russia July 15th 2011

I arrived in Moscow at 5:15am, before the metro opens. By the time I found the metro station it should have opened but there was such an enourmous crowd of people waiting that I didn't really want to join the stampede so I walked to my hostel. It wasn't too far and quite easy to find but it was raining and I got pretty wet. I got myself organised and really took my time since not much opens before 10am. I walked towards the center and wandered around the outside of Red Square and then went to the Kremlin. Unfortunately I forgot to charge my camera battery so it dies and I only got a few photos. The Kremlin wasn't as big as I expected but I think it's just because alot of the area is ... read more
Around Red Square
Around Red Square
Entering the Kremlin

Europe » Russia July 9th 2011

I got off the train in Yekaterinburg and more or less straight onto another train going to Zlatoust, a small city/town in the Southern Ural mountians and arrived there in the morning. Around this time I realised that I was not in Siberia anymore which made me a little sad. For a start the English teacher from the train initially just said she was from a small town in Siberia, as if it was a long way away, and Valentina, my couch surfing host in Zlatoust told me there probably are bears in the forrests in Siberia but not here (since I'd mentioned I was a little worried about camping in Taganay because of bears). Valentina picked me up from the train station and we went back to her typical Russian flat - a tiny ... read more
Lake beach

Europe » Russia June 24th 2011

The train to Krasnoyarsk took about 28 hours which really dragged and there were a lot of loud and annoying kids. The scenery on the BAM section is pretty amazing though – lots of snow topped mountains and trees. After my experience at the hot springs though I had a new appreciation for the pleasant mosquitoe free environment on the train and had no desire to hop off and go for a hike. I've decided I need to come back to Russia in the winter one day. Not neccessarily the middle of winter when its - 50 but at least when all the lakes are frozen over and theres snow everywhere. The further West the train goes the more the trees thin out, there are more open meadows and fields and more signs of human life. ... read more
On the BAM from Severobaikalsk
Stolbi Nature Park
Stobi Nature Park

Europe » Russia » Siberia June 19th 2011

We arrived in Ulan Ude and made it to a hostel at around 10pm (thanks to losing an hour with the time difference). That really suprised me since it was still bright as anything and summery and warm. It stayed light until about 11pm when we were at the train station standing in a short but completely stationary line trying to buy tickets. After 1.5 hours I finally left (on my own since the English girl was catching a night train) with a ticket to Slyudyanka for the next morning. I walked back to the hostel, half paranoid I was going to get mugged carrying the bag with absolutely every valuble item I own through dark and dodgy looking streets, and half highly enjoying the fake bricks they used to pave the footpath which are made ... read more
On the train to Slyudyanka
Lake Baikal on the way to Kultuk

Asia » Mongolia June 10th 2011

I got off the train and stood on the platform looking around feeling defeated. For one it was a little surreal after 15 hours of deserted nothingness - no more life than a few odd yurts, camels and horses to end up in such a huge concrete busy city. I was tired, smelly and sticky (hadn't had a shower or changed since before my great wall hike), my feet and legs were black with dirt from the Hohhot train floor and I had cut myself somewhere so also had dried blood all over my feet. I didn't have a map and I couldn't speak a word of Mongolian (all my Mongolia info along with all my other research I had on my USB got eaten up by a virus in Cambodia). Oh Shit! And then a ... read more
View from the first families Ger
Inside the Ger
The first night

Asia » China » Beijing June 9th 2011

The train ride from Chengdu took 2 nights and a day and we arrived at Bejing West train station on time at 6am Monday morning. I spent alot of time catching up on sleep and the rest of the time reading. I couldn't see out the window from my bed but when I emerged to ground level to eat or something the scenery was nothing to get excited about. I actually managed to find a bus (thankyou Beijing and your everpresent Pinyin) to the main train station (we came in to the West one) and I checked into a very dull and expensive hostel which is really a hotel with some rooms converted into dorms. I picked it for the location though which wasn't as useful as I thought in the end. After checking in I ... read more
View from Jingshan Park Pavillion
More views from the hill
Beihai lake/park

Asia » China » Sichuan June 3rd 2011

We left Shangri La at 8am, arriving at the bus station a good 3 minutes before it was meant to leave. There was also an Austrian couple and an Israeli couple on the bus so we took up almost half of the small bus. I ended up with possibly the worst seat ever, in the back corner with absolutely no leg room at all! My knees were poking through the seat infront of me into Marianes back the whole way. After the first break I was just commenting on how good the road was when we hit the rough dirt track and spent the rest of the 8 hour trip being thrown of our seats and landing with a painful twang up your back. These small local buses are also full of Chinese men doing the ... read more
Xiangcheng surrounds
Village near Xiangcheng

Asia » China » Yunnan May 27th 2011

I left Lijang at 8am on on a special bus to Tiger Leaping Gorge which stops in Qiaotou, the town where the trek starts. Unfortunately it takes almost 3 hours so after storing my big pack at a guest house in town it was 11 am before I could start and quite a hot day. There were a few other westerners who also got off at the same place including a Canadian couple I spoke to breifly at the guest house. I caught up with them after about an hour of quite easy walking and we did the rest of the trek together. I found out the girl, Jenni, will also be starting her phd in engineering at Cambridge this October. Crazy coincidence but really cool! The walk got quite hard from here and for once ... read more
Start of Tiger Leaping Gorge
Horses on the trail
Waterfall on the trail

Asia » China » Yunnan May 13th 2011

I crossed the border into China quickly and without any hassles. According to the Lonely Planet, some people have had their China LP confiscated and been treated badly by the officials at this border so I was mentally prepared for this and had also hidden my LP deep inside my big backpack wrapped up in clothes. However, appart from sending the luggage through an x-ray machine there was no searching or any other annoyances. All of a sudden I was in China - no moto drivers yelling at me, but also no moto drivers to get directions or information from. I had no Chinese money so walked around looking for a bank which I eventually found quite a way away. Next stop, bus station to hopefully catch a bus to Yuanyang and the amazing rice fields, ... read more
Dali town
Walking on Dalis city walls
Dali town

Asia » Vietnam May 12th 2011

I caught a bus from Luang Prabang to Vinh in Vietnam since I felt I was least likely to get ripped off but it turns out things would have been much easier if I'd caught the Hanoi bus since it was a direct bus, not a ticket deal involving bus changes. We left about an hour late and started the slow and windy road East. I actually think this road is worse than the ones further north, but it was a fancy expensive sleeper bus, only half full, and no-one was vomiting. You also get your very own bed which makes sleeping a little easier. We arrived at the Vietnamese border just before 6am and sat around for 2 hours waiting for it to open. When it finally did, it was the most epic border crossing ... read more
Boat trip in Tam Coc
Boat trip
Boat trip in Tam Coc

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