May  22 - June  11,  2003  

To quote a famous author:

 "There is no rail journey of comparable length anywhere in the world.  The Trans - Siberian is the big train ride. 

  All the rest are peanuts."

So.... 50 of us

   ( mostly British)

set off on a long journey in our private train .. first by steam

(shown at right) ..

then switching to electric .



Russia covers 12 time zones ..... and on this trip, we crossed 8 of them.  ( we had visited 4 others on previous trips).

The trip from Moscow to Vladivostok is a 5,772 mile ( 9,288 km ) journey across seemingly endless plains and forests ...dotted here & there with a few cities & villages. If you want a feel for the vastness....just rewatch that train ride segment in "Dr. Zhivago".  It's not a trip to take in the winter !! The red dots indicate notable stops on our trip.  The blue dots were "pit stops".


You can fit 3 United States...side by side...across Russia, with enough space left over "in the corners" for a lot of Europe.


We traveled more than the normal  5,772 miles, because the train made a run up to St. Petersburg for several days, so we could share in the cities'  300th birthday celebration   By the way....this was also the 100th birthday of the first train to leave St. Petersburg for Vladivostok in 1903. 

( We had also been in Moscow for it's 850th.....and in Volgograd for it's 750th.)     LOVE THOSE RUSSIAN PARTIES !!!!!


The "Dining Car".   Nice ...Huh ??!!!

We were also lucky enough to be able to get one of the 9 suites ( which included our own bathroom)

Here is one of the Electric engines we used.

At Lake Baikal, I got to stand on the front platform of a similar engine to take photos while we traveled. 





Here ... you have the view of the Kremlin  and Red Square seen from our window at the Kempinski Hotel.  It was really great being this close, because all we had to do to be in the thick of things, was just walk across the bridge. might wonder what the white tents are for, at Red Square ???   Wellllllll ....Paul McCartney was giving a concert in Red Square, on our 2nd night there.  As a matter of fact .... his suite was directly above ours there were screaming fans with cameras, outside of our window most of the time.    Bothersome ?   Nah.  I just waved back.  Actually, it had it's pluses.  The night of the concert, we just opened the window & listened to the entire thing, free of charge.  The fireworks at the end were magnificent.  But Lenin must have been having a major hissy-fit.


This was far from our first time in Moscow ....and to say that it has been very interesting to witness the progression of rapid changes since 1991, is a gross understatement.  So we get a big kick out of just wandering around on our own, poking into things.

We've just included a few photos here of some of our favorite things.  There's just so much to see ,that Moscow really needs it's own web-site.  We can't really do it justice here.

So for those of you who haven't been, yet.......maybe this will whet your appetite.       And for those of you who have been here ....

well maybe this will help you relive some memories & just maybe some of our favorite things, are yours, also.




For the  "scholars"......History Museum


For the "shoppers" .....GUM'S  Department Store


For "politicians" and "mystery aficionados" .....Lenin's Mausoleum.  

( is that really Lenin in there ...or a wax dummy ? )


For the "religious and architects" ...

St. Basil's


And for those of you who just love fantastically beautiful "stuff"  ..... a few

ARMOURY  Treasures


Ivan The Terrible's Crown


Jeweled  "Dipper"


Empress Elizabeth's Throne


Orlov's gift to Catherine The Great. 

Well... what else can you give a woman, who has presented you with several estates because you helped knock off her husband ???!!!!


Coronation Robe of Empress Alexandra


And saving the best for last .... 3 of the many fabulous Faberge Eggs.

Unfortunately, the eggs were on tour this time. So , especially for members of our group, I've included these photos from one of our previous visits



Easter Clock Egg


Coronation Coach


Nicholas & 2 Daughters


If any of you have been thinking about seeing the "inner parts" of Russia  ( or will, after viewing the rest of this little travelogue) ....

train travel is the best way to do it.   The natives don't like to fly because "it's terrifying.  It's much safer on the train ".    

And they're right !!!!


Now the new "Aeroflot" planes for international travel, are fine.   But the old "Aeroflot" planes used for domestic flights are in a very sad state of repair.      Boy could we tell you stories about that !!         Having experienced the domestic flights on previous trips.....

we probably wouldn't do it again unless we were in danger of being shot.


For example:    The toilets are not secured to the floors of the bathrooms.  You just have to pray that the door locks hold, if the plane banks. And.....they really don't care if you're seated before the plane takes off. 

I guess they figure that the by the time the plane is in the air, forces of nature will put your body where it belongs.

Yep........ do the train.

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