Freitag, 16. Oktober 2015



It's all about the way, not the destination!


A 10'000 km trainride 


A train rattling along an endless stretch of land, linking distinct cultures and breathtaking views. Sitting in a smoothly jiggling compartement, time seems to come to a stand, while timezones, landscapes, people and languages are changing on the other side of the window. This shall be another big milestone in our travel history.


St Petersburg

Sunny St Petersburg makes a good start on our itenerary. Tsar monuments, lively neighbourhoods, markets, a surprisingly alternative scene and a lot of funny contrasts are keeping us busy for a couple of days exploring history packed former Leningrad.

one of the many canals lined by the nice buildings from the tsar era

shopping for old stuff at the fleamarket
matrushka gallery

The in-and outside of the church of the spilled blood. A never seen before mosaik work.

Getting into nowadays art scene

Some more onion domes, mosques and churches

 Strolling along the streets and climbing the roofs

heavy contrasts



After a bumpy 720 kms nighttrainride we get to the Russian capital Moscow. The cold and drizzly weather makes a rather less convenient arrival.

However we almost get to appreciate this weather as it's probably more pleasent to wander the endless roads in the cold.

only in Moscow: eating chestnuts in high summer, in winter clothes, under a palm tree

The Kremlin and Red Square

visiting the mummy of Lenin

Moscow by night 

our "night-guides", the family of Kathrins colleague, showing us around after dark

the univerity in one of Stahlins skyscrappers

Exploring Europe's biggest city

another of the seven sister,s how Stahlins skyscrappers also are called

the Tsum shopping mall

 inside St Basil's church

the Red Octobre chocolate factory

Moscow's Metro

entering Moscows tube is a sight itself, one could spend a while exploring the monumental socialism classistic stations

good to know some Russian basics

On our last day at least, we are blessed with warm and sunny weather, just perfect to commemorate to the lines of the Scorpions "Wind Of Change":

...down to Gorki Park...
...following the Moskwa...

...and listening to the wind of change...

Moscows lovely last evening mood assures to stay in our minds.

At night we get to start the biggest chunk of our train rides. For 96 hours there is a little compartement of about 4 m² that we call our home. A blank schedule keeps us free from any kind of obligations. Four days, five nights, reading, eating, looking out the window and enjoing doing nothing.

Next Stop; Ulan Bator in about 6'000 kms

first breakfast on the train after a good night of sleep
our cozy cabin
because of the crisis there not many fellow travellers,
the two other beds in our cabin and most of the other
compartments stay empty for most of the time

a "provodniza",  there is one for every carriage; they are responsible that the toilet is closed in urban areas (usually just after having a beer), and shovel coal to keep the kettles boiling

some impressions out the window

South Siberian villages

Novosibirsk Station

life on the tracks


Unfortunately the  most famous part of the journey, along the hughe Lake Baikal, is dipped in heavy smoke. Big forest fires shade the whole area around the mighty lake.

Nevertheless trying to get a glimplse through the smokey clowds.


A short night after a long but unexceptional border hassle, a nice, well deserved sunrise welcomes us to Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia where we get of the train for a couple of days.


our Ger on a downtown rooftop
the modern city center
and our shabby but charming neighbourhood

the Gandantegchinlen Monastery

As we are short in time, we decide to get a car, a driver and a guide to get into the nature as quick and deep as possible. Endless steppe, sand dunes, rugged hills and cozy Gers make this old country so special and a particular highlight on this trip.

literally feeling free like a bird; as soon as we leave Ulan Bator there is nomads land, no private property and no fences

on a hike in the Hustain Nuruu National Park; looking for wild Przewalski horses

off the road for a lunch break

the Ger of our first night with a spectacular view

in and around the Ger
the welcome ceremony; drinking Kumis - fermented mares milk

Russian Van

our host family

getting on a Camel

riding towards the sunset
foto session with the host mother
our Ger for the night

some more Camel shots

After a hearty breakfast we head further towards the former capital Karakorum, where ruins and a huge undestroyed monastery proofs from a rich history.

some funny Yaks on the way

Charchorin Monastery

getting food supplies on the market

pine nuts

an incredible place where three distinct landscapes merge at one point; steppe, mountains and sanddunes, all stretch endlessly in each direction

another Ger in a big flat
in the middle one can spot the toilet, especially hard to find at night

another host family

Hitting the long road back.

Some down from our roof shots back in Ulanbator

The last night we are blessed with the full moon raising over the city.

 Back on the train

this time chinese brand

After the rather less enthusiastic Russian conductresses, it's getting more and more asian in the train. Funny Chinese conductors pass by constantly, with big smiles, selling maps, shirts, beer and other stuff, or they come across with their currency collection asking  if one could add some missing coins from back home. And, of course, the general volume is turning up!

the landscape is getting flat

almost more important than the toilet; the always boiling, coal run kettle found in every single coach

platform-vendors waiting for the next train to approach

Crossing Gobi Desert - the final highlight of Mongolia


 A surprisingly warm welcome awaits us at the Chinese entering point, after expecting a harsh border control. We are treated with nothing but smiles snd good mood sprawling immigration authorities.

nevertheless understanding is getting more complicated, fortunately there is at least one English example which we have to pass from one compartment to another, as a reference to fill in the immigration form

lift up to get the carriages changed, due to tighter trails in China
we even got free food vouchers for every meal

buildings getting much more, closer and higher


Beijing Main Station - first impression how crowded it can get

After a couple of cancellations on the part of our booked accommodations and the advice, due to a military parade taking place these days, not to visit Beijing exactly on our planned days staying here, we were afraid they might even refuse us to enter China. Indeed the police presence is high and there is a lot of restrictions but for the travel-god's sake; we're in!

wandering the narrow Hutongs

our cozy home before we have to give way to the parade, as the government shuts down every hostel and guesthouse for foreign visitors

Since they've also shut down all shops in most parts of the town and even closed the forbidden city, there are at least some other well worth visiting sights around the center which we can explore.

Temple of Heaven 

Some yummy dumplings as refreshment inbetween the sightseeing.

Lama Temple

the biggest one outside Tibet

burning incense in proper style

Beijing City Centre 

snoozing in a Rikshaw
high quality Chinese copy, the coffee was good though

it all looks yummy but you never know what's inside

early morning; moving out into anozher Hutong

The Great Wall

To make shure to be safe of the tourist mass we decide to climb the Great Wall of China at a rather secluded spot. What els would you expect? It takes us ages to get there with public transport. However the drawback is quickly made up with all the funny experiences and meetings on the way and finally, breathtaking views on a stretch of wall, almost on our own.

The Wall at Jinshanling

a rest and plenty of vitamins to cope the steep up and downs

Back in Beijing

 Back in town things are getting worse! Meanwhile even the food supply decreases, yet our last harbour, the 24/7 McDonalds around the corner locks us out. Fed on whatever we got we go to sleep with a light feeling of hunger and are looking forward for the big parade tomorrow and over all the reopening of everything.

A very rare occasion; as all the factorys in and around Beijing stayed shut down for days and even street vendors with coal barbeques were banned, we are lucky to have blue sky and breathe in almost unpolluted air in the middle in one of the probably most contaminated city in the world.

We dedicate to another big song, this time Katie Meluas "Nine Million Bycicles in Beijing" - now we got two of them to rattle along the narrow alleyways.

The last evening we join the bank hollyday crowd in a bustling nightlife district.

the not to missed Beijing Roast Duck

The Forbidden City

After being inaccessible over two dynasties for common people, it is almost so for us as well. But we are lucky. The last try on the day of our departure shall be successfull. They just reopened the doors this morning.

we have not be the only ones being waiting for the reopening! Additionally with those restrictions they also suspended the ones for the factorys bringing back the dark and heavy clouds!

got to know something about the place

The last train ride

A bullet train forwards us with an average speed of 300km/h, within 4:48 hours, towards our 1'200 km away, final destination.


"Oh travellers!" A student comments, spotting our backpacks in the subway. A nice chat and a hug welcomes us to bustling Shanghai. Tropical climate, amiable people and an interesting mixture of  culture and modern spirit make this city well worth to visit.

From outside the concrete jungle hard to spot, there are a lot of gems, hidden between the high skyscrappers. Such as the chic French consession, labyrinth like shopping alleys, art studios in run down industrial parks and so on.

Taikang Lu - shops, galleries and food stores

Shanghai at night


 above the new, below the old town



Pudong - Buisness District


the modern verses...
...the old skyline

Art Street


Living in a Box


Streetlife II 

 The Bund at Night


The End Of The Trainstory

Thanks for your Attention
See You Soon