The planning for B15T(Big2015Trip) is moving right along. Bit like being on a train in fact when it is doing the switching tracks stuff. Jerks forward, halts abruptly, creeps ahead with shrieks and rattles, grinds to another stop…finally it moves slowly and then a little faster and then a little faster…onward…to the next pause. I love trains but much of the journey is as described. Of course the only trains I’ve ridden in the last years are Amtrak and Romanian railroads; maybe there are more streamlined examples but I’m not counting on the trans-Siberian lines being among them.
The latest installment is this. Like trains, Beth and I are moving our planning ahead in fits and starts but mostly on a forward trajectory. Beth is actually more interested in Scandinavia where she has not been and I am more interested in Russia and Mongolia (except for Norway of course) where I have not been. She thinks the train and the Mongolian gerts/yurts will be a little more uncomfortable than she’s willing to put up with; I think they’ll be the epitome of adventure for me, the little old lady in tennis shoes.
Beth is an authentic foodie both in exploring cultural foodways and in being a gourmet cook; she would happily delve into that aspect of the big wide world forever. I, on the other hand, eat very little when I travel (usually losing a bit of weight in fact) and am only sporadically interested in food. I am excited about the prospect of being on a trip with someone with enough of a culinary background to make it all interesting to me and get me to understand various local cuisines a little more. We apparently both share a love of searching through foreign grocery stores though so will surely spend some quality time doing that.
Beth wants to actually meet people and talk to them. I want to observe people, listen to them and then write blog posts about them. I still think we will have great fun together if we get the itinerary worked out.
So now B15T is structured something like this: I go to Norway, a week or so later meet Beth in Stockholm, we hang out there, including some serious culinary investigations, for two or three days, then ferry to Riga, Latvia and a day or so later train into St. Petersburg. Then we both do all of the city touring offered by Real Russia for two days each in St. P and Moscow. Mostly the same so far except Riga.
NOW it gets interesting for me. I’m alone on the journey through Russia and the adventure on the steppes of Mongolia. I like traveling alone much of the time, at least I think that is true. This five days on a train through Russia and four nights in a yurt will surely test the truth of that. Assuming I can work out the arrangements as a single traveler.
Ending with a couple of days in Beijing is still the plan right now.
Beth is talking to someone who has actually done the trans-Siberian railway journey today. Back with more details after that.