My aim is to travel from the UK to Brisbane for one of my best friends' wedding. Plane travel is so environmentally damaging so I am looking for another way. I also think that by travelling over land and sea I will be able to understand our world better as I will connect with the people and landscapes and not just look at the departure board in the airport. Any tips gratefully received!! Departure date 1st September.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

From Moscow with Love

Wow! The journey has well and truly begun, right in at the deep end. Bus to Cologne was fairly easy and it was fun to go on the ferry to Calais, great to leave the 'ole White Cliffs in the darkness. After a few hours in Cologne watching street artists and marvelling at the cathedral I got on the next bus - Slightly scary as no one seemed to speak a word of English and the bus only said to 'Minsk' but they said to get on, and I thought at least it is in the right direction! (the whole trip seems to be about just going with the flow, so I will continue with my stress free attitude to it all (and allowing two hours extra to get anywhere!)) This bus was slightly more eventful, lots of views of the lovely Poland and Belarussian countryside. After leaving Germany (lots of wind turbines and bicycles! great stuff) it all got a lot more rural and more woodland. Mist over the land and great dark forests (oh to be in Wales!). On the second day I spent a long time fuelled by adrenaline, chocolate and grapes only after my bread went mouldy and we spent 2 1/2 hours at the passport control to Belarus. They took our passports off us three times and tried to sell me medical insurance (and the two other europeans who had got on the bus!) I declined. I sat through 8 Russian Dvd's in total (mainly about soldiers!) and spent 63 hours surprisingly un-bored considering I could only speak a bit of French to one guy and found one girl from Belarus who I spoke to a couple of times. I just sat back and enjoyed the scenery, tried to forget my bum had gone numb and read my book. Not much sleep was had but overall I would recommend it (but learn a bit of German and Russian first!) Now to Moscow, I have stayed in a lovely little hostel, the Yellow Blue Bus (translations sounds like 'I love You' apparently!) It is like being in someone's apartment, very cosy and friendly. Today I went to Red Square (St. Basil's Cathedral and The Kremlin) and of course saw Lenin's Tomb, ( I am going for the big three communist leaders - to see Lenin, Mao and Ho Chi Min over the next few weeks!) Also lots of wandering around lost, but I came across some nice buildings and a few good buskers playing, so it was cool (great violin player made me think of Tabitha my lovely friend and fab fiddle player!) Next to the Yaroslavsky train station to get the Trans-Siberian...I am so excited, some people I met here have just come from China on the train and have told me a bit more what to expect and from what they say it is going to be great....On a green note, I have found recycling bins so far in Cologne and Moscow so I am trying to do my bit.


At 2:15 pm, September 05, 2006, Blogger Gem said...

Hi babs,
glad you're well on your way. hope the rest of the trip goes smoothly. even though i flew to africa i travelled overland on my own from south africa to kenya which i found tough, lonely, frustrating and intimidating at times but it was great. i sent emails home but should have thought of this blog lark before hand. all the best. truely admire you for doing what you believe in. love gemma x

At 3:24 pm, September 05, 2006, Blogger steveestir said...

Hi babs,

good to hear you are enjoying yourself so far.
brave enough to challenge the norm, you deserve the enormous respect you have. lost count of the number of people who have told me about what you are doing, they all send their love

At 8:34 pm, September 05, 2006, Blogger LimePulp said...

Hi Babs

Can't believe you don't know any Russian, I'm very disappointed in you for that but still really proud of you for making this trip.

Glad you have got the first leg out of the way without any problems, hope the next leg goes just as well.

Good to see that you found a computer in Moscow that you could use, look forward to your next post.

Glad your save and well even with the mouldy bread.

Carry on taking good care of yourself

Lots of Love & Luck

Steve XXX

At 10:09 pm, September 05, 2006, Blogger Berni said...

hiya been following your blog after seeing you in a mag .. it all sounds very exciting. i hope the weding at the end is the icing on the cake ( groan such a bad pun )

At 12:29 pm, September 06, 2006, Blogger Greenfoot said...

Hi there, good luck with your trip on the TB. I look forward to your postings on your way to Oz.

At 12:35 pm, September 06, 2006, Blogger cass said...

Hi Babs
Caroline here from your school - in your sister's class. Don't know if you know but I took the Trans-Sib from Moscow to Beijing (via Mongolia) 3 yrs ago, and then overland thru China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand. You'll have a great time and learn so much along the way. I did it that way because I believe that travel should be about getting to know a country on ground level - talking to the people, eating the food, seeing the miles go past out the window - not possible with air travel. I'm so proud of you for publicising overland travel's environmental benefits and wish you all the best.

You'll be in Beijing when you read this I expect. Enjoy China! you'll have no trouble getting down to Hanoi - trains are excellent all the way, people are welcoming and any English speakers will be very happy to help you. Just keep a pen and paper on you at all times for writing down the language, coz you won't be able to pronounce it and you'll need to buy a whole lot of rail/coach tickets!
Good luck! love Caroline x

At 11:55 am, September 09, 2006, Blogger py said...

So so proud of you! Don't forget... you're going to write that book. I'm there in spirit. Godspeed. PY x

At 11:58 am, September 09, 2006, Blogger py said...

So so proud of you. Don't forget, you're going to write that book! I'm with you in spirit. Godspeed. PY x

At 1:29 pm, September 10, 2006, Blogger Rebecca Sullivan said...

Hi, Babs! Rebecca here. Paul and I were just talking about how much we missed our accordeon player. The rest of the band is drifting away slowly, as well: first you, then Tabitha and Christian. . . but I'll keep practicing my clarinet, in preparation for your return! Have you had a chance to play at all? Seen any good Russian buskers?
hope you are well and happy. . .
rebecca (and paul)

At 1:08 am, September 11, 2006, Blogger PeakEngineer said...

It's definitely inspiring to see someone finding solutions to seeing the world without destroying it. Enjoy your adventures!


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