Here are a few tips I’ve collected for happy traveling aboard the Trans-Mongolian Express.
- Board in an orderly fashion, let the ones with compartments furthest from the door go first.
- Compartments are small, stand in the hallway while your traveling companions sort out and store their luggage.
Continue reading How to survive on the Trans-Mongolian Express
When I looked out the window of the train on our first day in Mongolia, we were in the Gobi desert, the Mongolian steppes. The landscape was flat, the low scrubby grass fall-brown, the light diffuse, and all of it completely spectacular. Herds of animals appeared, horses, cattle, sheep, Angora goats, Bactrian camels, gazelles or yaks. Here and there, a few Gers (yurts), a testament to the traditional nomadic lifestyle. Continue reading Beautiful Mongolia
I got to shoot arrows at a hairy cowhide target that still had the tail attached and pay a visit to a nomad family where I was served salty tea and a snack of dried milk curd hard as rock. At night, I slept in a Ger (or yurt), just like the nomads.
Continue reading Living like a nomad in Mongolia
The first leg of our train journey to Saint Petersburg started at the main Beijing train station, heading to Ulaan Baatar. Duration of this leg – 30 hours – the wheel sets of the train, called bogies, must be changed at the Mongolian border because the gage of the railway is different in China than in the rest of the continent. Continue reading Destination Mongolia
I didn’t really know what to expect in Beijing. It’s a city that was not on my “must see” list. After spending nearly a week there, I found Beijing to be more traditional and more modern than I’d expected and I’ve been impressed by its character. Continue reading Farewell Beijing
The security guard was shouting something at me, but I had no idea what he was saying. I looked at his hands to see if he might be making some kind of gesture that would give me a clue, but all I saw was the half-meter club he was carrying in his right hand. He kept repeating the same word more and more angrily and I was at a loss. Continue reading Great Wall outlaw
More people in one place than I’ve ever seen before. That was my thought as I stood in Tiananmen Square for the raising of the flag at dawn on the country’s national day, October 1. I’m not good at estimating crowds, but there have been up to 500,000 people on the square for this event. It’s the only gathering that celebrates the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China by Mao Zedong on October 1, 1949. Continue reading National Day in China