Siberian Express Dreams

Russia, Siberia, Mongolia and China, late December, 2014. Part 7: I’ve had Siberian Express dreams for years, taking a train across the vast stretch of Siberia, leaving Moscow headed constantly on, day and night, to distant places in Asia. December 2014 was our opportunity to make dreams real. Like much of travel everywhere, people were the best part. People were the best part. Although each party had their own cabin and while plenty of time was spent sprawled out reading or listening to music, most people seemed to…

Siberian Express Dreams

Russia, Siberia, Mongolia and China, late December, 2014. Part 6: I’ve had Siberian Express dreams for years, taking a train across the vast stretch of Siberia, leaving Moscow headed constantly on, day and night, to distant places in Asia. December 2014 was our opportunity to make dreams real. With eight nights and seven days on board, we had to eat. Eating aboard the trains wasn’t our first concern. Dining cars are generally available (more on this later) but many of the passengers, especially the Russians and younger Europeans…

Siberian Dreams

Out of Moscow, Russia, December 21, 2014. Part 2: I’ve had Siberian Express dreams for years, taking a train across the vast stretch of Siberia, leaving Moscow headed constantly on, day and night, to distant places in Asia. December 2014 was our opportunity to make dreams real. But there is no Siberian Express or there are several–none of which are the antique train show above which I saw parked next to a depot. There really isn’t a Siberian Express, or there are several, depending on how you look…

Winter in Mongolia: Ger Stay

Mongolian Winter: Ger Stay.  What’s it like to spend the night off the grid in a Mongolian ger when the temperature is minus 34 Celsius? I always held that the modern era of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries ended about one mile past the last electric power pole. Beyond that spot, water had to be pumped by hand or hauled from a stream; light came from kerosene or a battery; heat required split wood; laundry was done by hand and dried on a line or spread over bushes;…

Christmas, travel, Christmas travel, Vienna, Mexico

December 24, 2014 Author’s note: I revised this slightly from last year after reading it on Christmas Eve, 2014, thinking of Christmases past, and present, while waiting for a train in Irkutsk, Russia to Ulan Bator, soon to be plunging forward into the darkness of a Siberian night aboard an east-bound train rolling towards Mongolia. “It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is…