Location: Russia. (St. Petersburg, Moscow, Yeketerinburg (Sverdlovsk),Novosbirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Lake Baikal, Ulan-Ude)
Photos: 32 available in format: JPG .
A selection of photos taken on a trip trough Russia in 2002. I embarked on this trip with my friend Alex, starting in our hometown Bodø, Northern-Norway. Our goal was to at least reach Beijing, by using trains, busses etc, however no air-travel.
We went through Norway and Sweden by bus. Then the short ferry trip from Umeå in Sweden to Vaasa in Finland. Vaasa to Helsinki by train. Helsinki to St.Petersburg with train. St.Petersburg-Moscow by train. From the capitol we embarked east on the transsibirian train, and had stopovers in: Yeketerinburg (Sverdlovsk), Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude and the scenic Lake Baikal. From Ulan-Ude we got the last possible bus to the border of Mongolia, before our Russian visas were expiring. We had originally booked train tickets to the border, however the nightlife scene in Ulan-Ude was so hard, that we managed to miss 2 trains over a period of 2 days, therefore the only choice was bus. On the Russia-Mongolia border we realized that the crossing couldn’t be done by foot, so we had to hitchhike our way to the next country. After having enjoyed the Gobi desert and fine Airag (Fermented Mare’s Milk) for a while in Mongolia we found the way to Beijing, where me and Alex parted our separate ways. I continued the long way to Indonesia by land/sea before ending my journey.
Having said this, I must confess that we didn’t fulfill our promise of only using land-travel during the trip. In Krasnoyarsk we became too much amused by the name of the local regional airline “Kras-air”, that ironically was pronounced almost like “Crash-air” in Russian. We had to take a ride on a Kras-air flight, so we bought our tickets – flying from Krasnoyarsk to Irkutsk. At the airport the flight was delayed and it wasn’t before the pilot showed up that we could see why the delay had taken place: the pilot had the looks like he was experiencing a fierce hangover. Whatever the pilots shape and his hangover, he got the Tupolev 134A aircraft airborne. It wasn’t before we were going to land in Irkutsk that we had our biggest thrill on the flight, the pilot could not find the airport because of the morning fog that often accumulates at Irkutsk airport. We made 2 or 3 attempts. I can remember the last attempt very clearly, because from my window seat I could see the airport far away on the right side, and we were maybe only a few hundreds feed above the forested tundra. The pilot gave up and increased altitude again. After 10-15minutes we realized that we were not descending to make another attempt on finding the runway. We tried to talk to the only steward on the plane that we could see, he was sleeping in a seat. When we tried to wake him up he mumbled something in Russian that we could not make sense of. Anyhow, we had re-routed to Ulan-Ude. After arrival in Ulan-Ude, we were quite shaky from the experience and requested Kras-air to withdraw our luggage from the airplane so we could be spared from another attempt to land in Irkutsk. Not possible we were told. Our flight to Irkutsk came up after an hour of waiting, and by the grace of Kras-air we arrived in Irkutsk. Kras-air-style. I attached a photo of the airplane somewhere under.