Trans-Siberian Rail: Our Way

✍️: Jan 📸: Erin & Jan

It’s 12:25 in the afternoon. I’ve forgotten what day it is, Wednesday perhaps. Two days ago, in the Russian Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, beside the monumented remains of Engine 3306, a restored Soviet-era steam engine built by Americans during World War II, we boarded Russian Railways Trans-Siberian Train 001 at 7:10 in the evening. 

Since then, we’ve been lumbering westward toward Moscow through the Siberian Taiga on the Trans-Siberian Rail. Our destination is Sludyanka on the southwestern tip of Lake Baikal, just one station shy of Irkutsk. We’ll arrive tomorrow in the early afternoon. But this is the Trans-Siberian Rail. The saying that it’s about the journey and not the destination is more apt here than just about anywhere.

  • Locomotive Monument
  • Engine 3306
  • Big Engine
  • Lend Lease
  • Vladivostok Station
  • Read to board the Trans-Siberian Train
  • Trans-Siberian Route - Moscow to Vladivostok
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Vladivostok: The Master of the East

✍️: Jan 📸: Erin & Jan

Vladivostok, in Russia’s Far East, sits about 100 miles from the northeastern corner of North Korea. It is seven time zones from both Moscow and Los Angeles. The general response from most people — Russians included — when we told them we were planning on spending a couple of days here was a mixture of blank stares, the question “Why?” or simply “That’s far …”

Our primary reason was to board the Trans-Siberian Railway at it’s far eastern terminal and roll west. But as we researched our trip, we found more and more reasons to spend some time in the city called “Master of the East.”

Solzhenitsyn returns to Russia from exile via Vladivostok
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Rafting the “Ryka Bystraya”

✍️: Jan 📸: Erin & Jan

Вперёд! Стоп!
Левый табань! Правый вперёд!
Стоп! Вперёд!
Навались! Навались! Навались!

Erin and Jan rafting in Esso, Kamchatka, Russia

Our “captain” barked those words at us as we rafted the Bystraya (translation: quick) River down the middle of the Kamchatka peninsula. For most of the day, those are the only words we heard.

And, let me tell you, when the captain yelled “Вперёд Навались!” we pulled our oars hard as the current pushed us toward a huge, jagged volcanic rock jutting menacingly out of the frigid whitewater spray.

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