Monday, 9 July 2012


I had booked (and paid) for a trip to Tibet in June 2012. A few weeks before departure, the Chinese Authorities decided to stop issuing Tourist Visas and so, at short notice, Tim from my Travel Firm and I were faced with salvaging what we could and making alternative arrangements, incurring the least possible financial loss.

"Mongolia" I suggested and that's where I'm off to, by air, for a very brief stay. Tim suggested coming back, by train, on part of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Now, people who know about my interest in railways have assumed that I'd be keen to make such a journey but I've never been sure I want to spend a week on a train (Kiev to Ivano Frankovsk overnight in Ukraine proved quite sufficient as I describe briefly in Ukraine 2005). But Tim suggested using the 'Golden Eagle' private train which offered a service back from Ulaan Baatar in Mongolia to Moscow around the time we were looking at and that's what I'm about to do.

So, here I am in the 'Sky Team' lounge at Heathrow's Terminal 4, waiting to depart at 11:50 to Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on Aeroflot flight SU2571 where I hope to make a connection to Aeroflot flight SU330 to Ulaan Baatar.

I've three nights in Ulaan Baatar before boarding the train for Moscow. This will be my second trip to Russia - only last year I made a trip by river and canal from Moscow to St. Petersburg which is described in a series of posts labelled Trip to Russia.

As usual, I don't know what access I'll find to the Internet so I may go quiet for a bit but I have my Notebook Computer with me and hope to be recording some of my thoughts as I go, even if I can't post them until later.