Trans Siberian – 2015 Tour Report
Posted from Moscow 2nd September 2015
On arrival in Moscow you can’t help but remind your- self about the experiences left behind in Siberia, Mongolia and the Far East of Russia.
The time has flown by and after 48 days and 12,000km recollections of experiences, memories of characters and people met are still being spoken about at the nightly dinner table. It seems not a day goes by without a moment worth remembering.
Since arriving back in mother Russia the experiences have changed. You can’t portray Siberian Russia to most potential customers and I have almost given up trying, they just have to experience it for themselves, then they understand what a mis-understood part of the world this really is.
Even Western Russian will suggest that Siberia is not a safe place to travel. Its apparent that they to do not know their country or fellow countrymen.
The big revelation all of our travellers over the years has been that Russia and all of its regions are fascinating with their individual charms and its people friendly, kind and helpful. Even the numerous traffic police checks that we have encountered with a couple pending indiscretions have only resulted in friendly encounters. This group still comments on the surprise element of this entire tour and like me will attempt to dispel popular misconceptions on return to their homelands.
The weather has been a surprise this trip. Expecting to have a taste of a European summer and hot temperatures in Russia we have experienced cooler weather and lots of rain which has been a welcome relief for travel.
“Talking about relief”. The Russian Ruble has crashed of late. It started its downward slide early in the new-year with an exchange rate of 55 Rubles to the US Dollar. That was compared with the 37 RR we were getting mid last year. This represented amazing value considering commodities had not increased in price by much at all.
During the course of our this return trip via Mongolia the Ruble again slide against the $US to an incredible 68RR to the $US, double last year’s rate. That means that Fuel is just 0.50c per litre, a restaurant meal with a beer or vodka is $15 and everything else associated with spending in Russia is incredibly cheap.
My point is now is that now is the time to do one of our expeditions as it is costing you half as much to enjoy the delights of this amazing country.
Tomorrow we leave for two more amazing destinations before departing Russia. Nizhniy Novgorod is a 10th century gem located 200km south of St Petersburg. It has an amazing city wall and the oldest cathedral in Russia but only because Genghis Khaan and the Mongols failed to reach this city due to swampy ground.
St Petersburg is always a favourite stop and a great way to finish off a marathon 12,000km trip from one side of the Russian continent to the other. Reaching the city of the Russian Tszars is always an achievement but mixed with sadness as we depart Russia and enter the Eastern Bloc countries.
Enjoy the montage of photos of places and characters we have met in the last few weeks on the journey from Tashanta, on the Mongolian border to Moscow.