Travelers: Jo and Myles
Type: International train travel
Budget: ALL-OUT! ($10,000+)
Where did you go? I have wanted to do the Trans-Siberian trip for ten years, so it was well and truly time! We started in Beijing, China and did the Trans-Siberian Railway. So we travelled by train through Mongolia and Russia, then went to Finland, Denmark, Germany, and France, flying back to Australia from Paris.
We were happy to start in China and go through Mongolia, but the main part of the trip for us was always Russia. We even took Russian classes before we left, which were invaluable. Just being able to recognize the Cyrillic characters was a huge help.
After we left St. Petersburg we had two and half weeks left, in which we visited with quite a few good friends in Copenhagen, Germany, and France. Some we had seen in the last year or two, but I hadn’t seen my extended German family for more than six years so that was amazing — plus I even realized I could still speak enough German to get by!
What did you do? We hiked at Lake Baikal (the world’s deepest freshwater lake!). Climbed the Great Wall. Rode horses in Mongolia.
And lots more of the usual tourist stuff in Russia, like visiting St. Basil’s cathedral in Moscow, and walking around St. Petersburg at midnight enjoying the white nights.
We had the tour organized before we left. We usually travel pretty independently so this was new for us, but we had a lot of free time, and weren’t with a group. It was great to be collected from each train station and taken to our hotel instead of making our own way to our accommodation.
We also spent a lot of hours on many trains. Most were awesome but there was one 48-hour train trip with no air conditioning! We relaxed on board, read a few books, chatted with our carriage mates and enjoyed sitting still for a bit after wedding planning! We also packed a lot of tea and they always have hot water on board so we were never too far from a cup of tea.
What would you have done differently? We worked hard on our Russian, but a little French wouldn’t have gone astray in France as well — if we had had time I would have liked to at least listen to a language tape!
What’s your best travel advice for other offbeat honeymooners? Don’t get sick if you have less than 24 hours in a country — you won’t enjoy an amazing country! But, if you are going to be sick on this particular trip, and your Russian isn’t very good, it’s not too bad to be sick in Helsinki, as the Finns speak fabulous English! I usually don’t mind muddling through with language, but in a pharmacy, you just want to know things are understood!
Also, download some language learning apps!
Enough talk! Show me all the awesome vacation photos.