Wanderlust Wendy

Travelogue

Trans-Siberian Journey: Visa Prep

Preface  Xavier (French) and I (Taiwanese-American) were living in Shanghai at the time of this trip prep. I was staying in China on my Taiwanese ID, but will be traveling on my US Passport, so I needed to obtain Russian visa in Hong Kong. US citizens do not need a Mongolia visa at this time. French needs both a Russian and a Mongolia visa, but the Mongolian Consulate in Shanghai … Read more

Trans-Siberian Journey: The Finale

The last part of Trans-Siberian journey through Europe was fairly rushed since we needed to be back in France by mid-July. After two days in Warsaw, we took a 6-hour train to Berlin, stayed overnight to celebrate France’s win in the World Cup, then headed for Strasbourg, our final destination. I’d almost say the end was somewhat anti-climatic, but we were also happy to slow down the travel pace, and … Read more

Trans-Siberian Journey Part 12 – 2 Days in Warsaw

Journey to Warsaw We boarded our final sleeper train of this journey in Moscow, heading to Warsaw, Poland. This train was one of the most Soviet-era-esque trains we’ve taken, likely because most people in their right mind would take a low-cost airline flight, and not a 16-hour slow train.  Yet, given that this is our final overnight ride, I felt rather nostalgic. The cabin was the smallest we’ve had, but … Read more

Trans-Siberian Journey Part 11 – 24 Hours in Kyiv

Hello Europe  After bidding farewell to Russia, we began the journey towards Europe. The overnight train went by quickly. A nice middle-aged lady communicated with us through body language, and shared her snacks. We followed French’s advance to the World Cup final via Google updates on 3G, and drifted to sleep with the gentle rocking motion. The train pulled into Kyiv station at 7:30am. The station was chaotic, likely due … Read more

Trans-Siberian Journey Part 10 – 3 Days in Moscow

Journey to Moscow After hours upon hours of long-distance train travel, we hopped on a high-speed rail to reach Moscow. The train was impeccably new yet comfortable. Somehow, having been used to the luxury of spreading out on our beds during train journeys, the 4-hour ride on a seat felt long and rigid. We could have taken the slow train down, but the time didn’t seem worthwhile. There are also … Read more

Trans-Siberian Journey Part 9 – 3 Days in St. Petersburg

Journey to St. Petersburg After 3 wonderful days in Kazan, we headed back on the train for St. Petersburg. For this 22-hour journey, we shared our cabin with a young man who looks like he was in the military. His parents sent him off at the platform. I snapped a photo of the emotional moment between mother and son. The similarities of humanity continue to humble me. All cultures across … Read more

Trans-Siberian Journey Part 8 – 3 Days in Kazan

Journey to Kazan Our train left for Kazan from Yekaterinburg early in the morning. The 13-hour journey was our first non-overnight train. I relished in this time to do some good old-fashioned reading without the distraction of Internet. I read Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and completed Hillbilly Elegy in one sitting. I cannot remember the last time I read a book cover-to-cover in one sitting!  We shared our … Read more

Trans-Siberian Journey Part 7 – 24 hours in Yekaterinburg

During my planning, I had read that Yekaterinburg is a good stop point to break up the Trans-Siberian route, but that it was an industrial city not worth lingering. I took that silly advice and only allowed for less than 24 hours in this lovely city.  If there’s any place that I wish we could stay longer, it’s Yekaterinburg. To maximise time and see as much as we could, we … Read more

Trans-Siberian Journey Part 6 – Irkutsk to Yekaterinburg

This was the longest leg of our entire train journey, lasting over 48 hours. I splurged on first class for this leg, in order to have the comfort of privacy. We took train #1, the Rossijia. When I was booking tickets, not all the trains had first class. We stayed in Irkutsk for an extra day to be able to catch this train.  The only advantage of first class is … Read more

Trans-Siberian Journey Part 5 – 4 days in Irkutsk & Lake Baikal

Day 1 – Irkutsk Wandering We checked into our hostel at Katyusha Travel Centre, a no-frills hostel that has a large common space. I didn’t realise that bathroom wasn’t en-suite for a double room, but hey, a little hostel living is good for the soul.  First order of business is to get a Russian SIM card. I did a bit of research and turns out Megafon has the cheapest rate, … Read more