Tag Archives: railways

Astonishing adventures – pt. 4: railroad bonus track.

Er… oops. In my previous post in this series, I forgot all about Uryupinsk! Accordingly, here’s adventure-tourism story of the unique/unusual kind No. 7…

In the fall of the year 2008, we took a business trip to Volgograd to sign official agreements on friendship and cooperation with the Governor of the Volgograd region. After the official part of the proceedings there was a short and friendly meeting, during which I noticed a map on the wall – a map of the region. And since I’m a big fan of examining geographical details on maps, I proceeded to duly scan it. And straight away I noticed the “legendary” (see below) Uryupinsk on it:

I say “legendary”, since, in Russia, the town of Uryupinsk has traditionally been used as a synonym for a bland, provincial backwater; and now, in the digital-era, it’s long been an internet meme for much the same thing. I’m not sure I even knew where it was (though, like every other Russian, I knew what it stood for), but here, in the governor’s office on the big wall-map, there it was – as large as life!

So, I pipe up with: “Is Uryupinsk yours?”, addressing the governor. “Yes, it is ours,” he answered. And then, contrary to both common sense and official etiquette, I made a joke. I said that, since Uryupinsk is a well-known internet meme, and we should hold an internet conference there!

Read on:…

Time-off – adventure tourism style: pt. 3 – land-based travel.

Ocean-based adventure vacations – done.

Both Poles – done.

In today’s post – land-based travels from the unusual and adventurous side…

So what can I boast of in this category? Well, there were the road-trips across Namibia, Tasmania (this one – just as corona was kicking in, and we only just made it back home before full-on quarantine!), the Andes, and both islands of New Zealand, plus assorted other high-speed, hi-octane drives. But – they’re hardly “special”; anyone can rent a car and undertake similar road-trips. Thus, there’s actually nothing to boast of here.

So what is there I can actually boast of – in terms of unusual, exclusive if not unique, tailor-made, VIP, land-based motorized journeys of the extreme-kind?…

Adventure-tourism story of the unique/unusual kind No. 5: Magadan-to-Moscow road trip

In January 2021 (in only slightly “tuned” – albeit brand-new – small Renaults), we decided a road-trip across practically the full length of the world’s largest country – with temperatures sometimes sinking below -50°C – would be an adventure-and-a-half that just had to be taken. Route: Magadan > Oymyakon > Yakutsk > and further west on to Moscow (after switching our tired Renaults in Chita for some Mercedes). Dropping in on customers and partners along the way, the road-trip took us a full month to complete. We were expecting dull monotony. What we got was a wholly unusual, at times surreal, winter-wonderland fairytale auto-expedition. It affected me so much it took me a full two weeks to decompress and recover once we’d gotten home! Each day brought something special and thoroughly uncommonly remarkable; however, two particular instances stand out for me most of all…

Astonishment No. 1: just how beautiful everything is out there in the winter!

We somehow weren’t expecting much besides the extreme cold; we simply couldn’t imagine the extraordinarily beautiful white scenes all around for thousands of kilometers that awaited us ->

Read on: Time-off – adventure tourism style: pt. 3 – land-based travel.

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A railroad around Baikal Lake: along its winding shore it does snake.

Despite these hard times, we continue our work saving the world from all manner of cyber-maliciousness. We adapt; we carry on. Meanwhile, I hope my travel notes and photos will bring a little cheeriness to all who view them – because there’s hardly a better way to do that than with the beauty of nature.

Rounding off our MYB winter road trip, it was time to change mode of transportation. We parked up the tired Land Rovers, and headed to Baikal Port. As in – for ships and boats; with a Lake Baikal completely and utterly frozen over. Confused? Well, actually, Baikal Port also features a rail terminal. And it was there that we were to board a train for an excursion along the full length of the Circum-Baikal Railway to the town of Slyudyanka. But this isn’t just any old railroad. This happens to have been one of the most difficult engineering feats when it was constructed, and also happens to be one of the most scenic in the world. See for yourself! ->

Read on…

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Tibetan autumn: oh-my-awesome!

Tashi Delek (བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལགས།།) folks!

Well, I’ve given you an overview of our Tibetan expedition route. Oops, and I appear to have given you a few Tibet on-the-road daily reports too. So now let me back up a bit, and give you a few words – and a lot of pics – from our initial train ride into Tibet: from Xining to Lhasa.

We were, as it happened, not far from Tibet, so no plane needed: we took the train instead. Well why not? After all, Chinese railroads are among the most advanced – and fast – in the world. Also, we were to take the Qinghai–Tibet railway, which is the highest in the world that carries scheduled passenger trains. But we had to take it easy – slowly – since Tibet is one really high autonomous region: its main city is 3600m above sea level, while much of the rest of the region’s populated centers are about 4000 meters. Accordingly, we took it steady so as not to suffer from altitude sickness, which I’ve talked about before. Accordingly, the first day of our Tibetan was completely rail-based: hurray! Why hurray? You’ll see…)

Read on…

Railroad feats in St. Pete.

There are different kinds of museums.

There are real museums (in the classic understanding of the word), there are expositions, exhibitions, installations… What other words are there for describing such events? Graffiti! Btw, good quality graffiti done in good taste – is it an exposition or installation or hooliganism? The latter I cross out since good graffiti (IMHO) is real art. Oops. Off piste before even getting on piste. I do keep doing that…

So. Museums…

St. Petersburg is ram packed full of them. It’s like the museum capital of the world.

Now, I understand that if St. P’s museums were to be compared with, say, the Louvre or the British Museum, St. P’s may lag behind somewhat. However, considering the very difficult past St. Petersburg has had, its museums are a bit of a miracle. Museums weren’t all that well supported in post-imperial times; the same goes for during the 70+ years under Communism; obviously WWII was a major setback; and of late, post-CCCP, the city’s museums have continued to be somewhat neglected with no generous state or philanthropic sponsors coming forward as they do in the West. Maybe I’m wrong. But that’s how it seems to me. Do correct me if I’m mistaken.

There I go again… OK. Back to the main topic…

In Saint Pete there are the usual suspects: the museums children visit on school trips – the typical, the bland, the traditional, the obvious. So we, naturally, decided to shake things up a bit and go alternative, rebel, renegade! We went to… the Railroad Museum!


Read on: let the pix do the talking…