Like lots of people before going on a holiday we had to figure out where we would like to go. Cathy and I hate tourist packages that offer a 5 night 6 days stay with a sightseeing tour. I hate is because not only is it expensive it also has no flexibility. After traveling alone for a number of years and figuring out where to stay each night i don’t prefer someone booking a whole tour for us. Maybe i just don’t like the commitment. Anyways i kept putting off the research till Cathy got a little pissed and decided to do it herself.
We had about 28 days in total and wanted to see as much of Russia as possible. I always wanted to go to this place called the road of bones but that was further out north and getting there would be hard. The other thing i had heard of years ago was the Trans Siberian Railway. A bunch of trains that connected China to Russia. The most shocking part in the entire research was that short journey’s were about 600 kms. Anything overnight was considered close by. Its a huge country with a small population living in a bunch of towns and cities.
For the visa to be issued we had to give them a detailed itinerary. Ours was Thailand (cheap tickets from India) >> Irkutsk (cheapest way to get here from India) >> Olkhon island (Lake Baikal) >>Irkutsk (catch the train and buy chai powder for the train journey) >> Krasnoyarsk (A trek through the forest and the helpful old lady) >> Novosibirsk (manmade beach and the Liger) >>Ekaterinburg (Divide between Europe and Asia) >>Kazan (Kremlin and Bowmann street) >> St Petersburg (Hermitage) >> Moscow ( Kremlin, Putin and Flea Market that has everything from a hundred years ago) >> Bangalore .
Even though each of these places are atleast an overnight journey away the trains make it easier. This is one of the routes of the Trans- Siberian railway. The only leg of the journey that required us to take a bus was from Irkutsk to Lake Olkhon. This is the only part where we couldn’t book bus tickets online. In Russia bus tickets have to be booked at the bus station only. Luckily train tickets is online so that kind of helps plan each leg of the journey. We booked tickets as and when we got to the next place. Only the last 3 tickets we booked at one go since we had to get to St. Petersburg on a particular day.
The only regret we had was that we did not have enough time to visit a couple of more places. We missed going into the Ural mountains and the road of bones but i guess that is left for the next time we go there.