Monday, August 26, 2013
The Long Way Home
Our long, exciting trip home from Singapore begins this week. I'll catch a flight there from Denver, meet up with Chris and enjoy a few days visiting dear friends and returning to old haunts.... And acclimating. On Sunday, we'll catch a red-eye (yuk) to Beijing, spend an evening amongst the hutongs with a colleague of Chris' who is based there, and hop on a train to Ulaan Baatar the next morning.
This is where the real adventure begins. Chris decided that after 42 years of work, he needed a break, an adjustment period, a dramatic transition to help launch into the void of retirement. A journey home using minimal flying time through unchartered territory seemed to be the ticket.
So, the first leg of the journey will be about 9 days roaming around Eastern Mongolia, beginning and ending in Ulaan Baatar, the capital. We will travel by SUV and by foot, visiting villages and Mongol Empire ruins, on the high steppe and in the Gobi Desert and staying in ger camps.
Then we will take an overnight train on the Trans-Mongolian line to Irkutsk, near Lake Baikal in Siberia, where we'll spend a day or so hiking around the largest fresh-water lake in the world.... and deepest, I think. There, we'll pick up a train on the Tran-Siberian Railroad and travel for a couple of days until we get to Yekaterinburg. We'll stay a night there only because we have to change trains - that evening will be our anniversary.... Should be interesting. Yekaterinburg is know for two things: as the birthplace of Boris Yeltsin, and where the last czar and his family were murdered.
Back on the train from Yekaterinburg, we'll head to St. Petersburg, which was formerly Leningrad, which was formerly St. Petersburg. Friends who have been there have all said that it is a beautiful and fascinating city, so we'll spend four days there. Then we'll hop on an overnight ferry to Stockholm, across the Baltic Sea. We'll overnight there and then fly home, through Newark......
That's it in a nutshell. I hope you can see the map I've uploaded - kind of gives you an idea of where the heck we're going. (I understand it doesn't work with notebooks, but hopefully, you can see it with a laptop.) We'll do our best to keep this blog updated, whether you're interested or not! You'll be spared whilst we're in Mongolia, as I doubt the yurts have wi-fi.....