Ulan-Ude: Russia but not quite Russia

โœ๏ธ: Erin ๐Ÿ“ธ: Jan & Erin

Ulan-Ude immediately feels different when we arrive at 5 a.m. on an overnight train. Our cab driver is cheery, talkative and doesn’t drive 100 mph. There are Buddhist statutes, the first religious symbols I’ve seen in Russia that aren’t Orthodox Christian. And the racial makeup is much more Asian that anywhere else we’ve been, save for the giant Lenin head statue in the town square.

But the biggest surprise: Getting a personal tour of Ulan-Ude’s beautiful opera and ballet theater, which recently underwent a meticulous six-year renovation. We even meet a couple performers, including … the prima ballerina! OMG, I MIGHT DIE!

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Trans-Siberian Rail: Our Way

โœ๏ธ: Jan ๐Ÿ“ธ: Erin & Jan

Itโ€™s 12:25 in the afternoon. Iโ€™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, weโ€™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. Weโ€™ll arrive tomorrow in the early afternoon. But this is the Trans-Siberian Rail. The saying that itโ€™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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