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.



  1. Hello Marj and Beth, if you pass through Riga/Latvia, try and visit all these old buildings and house with their unique art deco/art nouveau architecture and furniture: did it a couploe of years ago as I accompanied AILEY II which was touring the 3 Baltic countries countrries including Tallinn/Estonoia (which gaces Helsinki) and is equally worth visiting, at least for its old town centre where you feel like being in the medevial ages…..
    Sent from Norwat where the ICE HOT Oslo dance platform is ending tonight… Safe travels!

  2. ok…so you are stopping in Mongolia for a yurt experience? Why am I not surprised. Be sure and try the Yak milk, that is like real gourmet stuff.

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