Category Archives: Russia

Australia to the UK without a plane… our trip in Numbers!

After 17 MONTHS of travelling around the globe we have finally completed our challenge of getting from Australia to the UK without an airplane, check out some stats we recorded along the way…

Countries Visited:  23 (Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Russia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Belgium and the UK)

Distance traveled without a plane: 70,300 km or 43,700 miles

Beds slept in: 298

Transportation – we have used:

135 buses, 45 boats, 33 cars (taxi, private or rental), 64 trains, 39 subway systems, 6 mopeds, 2 Hovercrafts, 1 horse, 1 camel and a variety of tuk-tuk type vehicles.

Our most expensive accommodation (per person): £37.59 ($43 AUD) – Ramada hotel – Ulaanbaatar (very special treat)

Our cheapest accommodation (per person): £1.27 ($2.33 AUD) – Aman batik house, tuktuk, Sumatra

Our Most expensive meal (Per Person): £13.98 ($27 AUD) – Moose and Roo Pub for Christmas Dinner, Hanoi, Vietnam

Our Cheapest Meal (Per Person): £0.24 ($0.44 AUD) – 1 Naan Bread, 1 Bowl of Curry, 1 Fried Bread Pastry and a cup of coffee. – White Cafe in Hpa an, Myanmar

Books Read: 40

Bed Bug Experiences: 3

Pairs of sunglasses Broken: 16

Pairs of Flip-Flops worn out: 9

Celebrity Spottings: 4 (Hugh Dennis, Janet Street Porter, Mhairi Black, Isy Suttie, and Bill Bailey)

Tubs of Hummus: 7

Free Things we have been given: 4 x Free bus rides, 2 x Ice Tea, 1 x Longhi (traditional Myanmar skirt), 1 x Free lonely Planet guide book, 6 x pieces of fruit, 2 x Bars of Chocolate, Free clothes wash, 2 x Bowls of traditional Thai Fish soup, 5 Malaysian Ringet, 1 x key ring, lots of flowers (mainly little Myanmar girls giving them to Ella), 2 x Cups of coffee, 1 x toilet fee (The last two were from a monk), 1 x free night of accommodation, 4 x bottles of water, 5 x noodle soups, 3 x free breakfast, free rice and chilli sauce, 2 x free coconuts, 2 x silk scarves, 1 x free tuk-tuk journey, 1 x free snake (edible), 2 x Banh Mi Sandwiches, lots of free potatoes and bananas, 1 x free tote bag, 1 x free ferry ride, 1 x free tourist boat trip, 2 x free ice coffees,  beer (we have actually lost count of how much), 1 free stick of BBQ goat’s udder, 10 x free dinner, 1 x taxi ride, 4 x bananas, 1 x chocolate dessert, rice wine…, 1 x free use of a motorbike, 2 x Jagermeister shots, 1 x free xe om journey, 2 x free bike hire, 2 x bowl of noodles, 1 x blueberry juice, 2 x buckets of booze, 1 x USB charger, 1 x t-shirt, lots of fireworks, 1 x Postcards, 2 x Panda bread, Vodka, Vodka made from Camel milk, Vodka made from horses milk, Various milk based products (Mongolia), 2 x Slices of cake, 8 x Buuz (Mongolian dumplings), 1 x Easter cake, 2 x Russian biscuits, 2 x Glasses of Wine, 2 x Russian remembrance tags, lots of Belinis (Russian pancakes), cake, 4 x polish football stickers and a folk music performance!

Well thats it, all the numbers we recorded during our trip… Hope you enjoyed reading our stats as much as we enjoyed keeping them.

R&E

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Sour cream blinis and Vodka…St. Petersburg

We had managed to go almost an entire month in Russia without having a drop of the country’s most famous tipple, vodka. We thought perhaps we’d be offered some on one of our many long train journeys, but instead we’d been reprimanded by stern police guards for having a beer we’d bought on the station platform! However, luck was on our side on our last night, in our last city, our hostel hosted a Bilini (Russian Pancake) party complete with ice-cold “Fire Water”. We were taught the proper way to drink it as well, always start with two shots in a row, a bite of something salty after each, and absolutely no sipping! It was an ideal end to our time in Russia, a country not known for its generosity had been good to us that night!

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Moscow, where every woman has a tiny dog

OK so this might not be strictly true…not every woman in Moscow had a tiny dog or a dog of any size for that matter. But it was definitely a city where some people have a lot of cash and they’re not afraid to show off about it…chauffeur driven car with blacked out windows anyone? We became distinctly aware that wearing hiking boots and a fake Northface jacket were not considered the height of elegance and was probably not going to get us into many bars or restaurants. So after a quick dash to H&M and some footwear purchases later, we were ready for what this great capital had to offer.

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Nuns in the snow…Kazan and Suzdal

Having now jumped the border into Europe, the continent was very keen for us to know it, and greeted us with a sight that we had not seen for a very very long time…. Rain!! Holding onto the hoods of our waterproof jackets to battle against the wind and the cold rain we made our way to our hostel in the city of Kazan, and decided the sights could wait until tomorrow…

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15 Months of Travelling…. Our trip in numbers!

15 MONTHS AGO ago we set off from Australia attempting to get back to the UK without flying and so far we have made it to Finland! So how exactly have we done it? Well heres a short post on our trip so far in numbers….

Countries Visited:  13 (Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Russia and currently in Finland)

Distance traveled without a plane: 64,500 km or 40,250 miles

Beds slept in: 257

Transportation – we have used:

122 buses, 41 boats, 30 cars (taxi, private or rental), 48 trains, 31 subway systems, 6 mopeds, 2 Hovercrafts, 1 horse, 1 camel and a variety of tuk-tuk type vehicles.

Our most expensive accommodation (per person): £37.59 ($43 AUD) – Ramada hotel – Ulaanbaatar (very special treat)

Our cheapest accommodation (per person): £1.27 ($2.33 AUD) – Aman batik house, tuktuk, Sumatra

Our Most expensive meal (Per Person): £13.98 ($27 AUD) – Moose and Roo Pub for Christmas Dinner, Hanoi, Vietnam

Our Cheapest Meal (Per Person): £0.24 ($0.44 AUD) – 1 Naan Bread, 1 Bowl of Curry, 1 Fried Bread Pastry and a cup of coffee. – White Cafe in Hpa an, Myanmar

Books Read: 38

Bed Bug Experiences: 3

Pairs of sunglasses Broken: 14

Pairs of Flip-Flops worn out: 9

Celebrity Spottings: 1 (Hugh Dennis in Laos)

Tubs of Hummus: 4

Free Things we have been given: 4 x Free bus rides, 2 x Ice Tea, 1 x Longhi (traditional Myanmar skirt), 1 x Free lonely Planet guide book, 6 x pieces of fruit, 2 x Bars of Chocolate, Free clothes wash, 2 x Bowls of traditional Thai Fish soup, 5 Malaysian Ringet, 1 x key ring, lots of flowers (mainly little Myanmar girls giving them to Ella), 2 x Cups of coffee, 1 x toilet fee (The last two were from a monk), 1 x free night of accommodation, 4 x bottles of water, 5 x noodle soups, 1 x free breakfast, free rice and chilli sauce, 2 x free coconuts, 2 x silk scarves, 1 x free tuk-tuk journey, 1 x free snake (edible), 2 x Banh Mi Sandwiches, lots of free potatoes and bananas, 1 x free tote bag, 1 x free ferry ride, 1 x free tourist boat trip, 2 x free ice coffees,  beer (we have actually lost count of how much), 1 free stick of BBQ goat’s udder, 8 x free dinner, 1 x taxi ride, 4 x bananas, 1 x chocolate dessert, rice wine…, 1 x free use of a motorbike, 2 x Jagermeister shots, 1 x free xe om journey, 2 x free bike hire, 2 x bowl of noodles, 1 x blueberry juice,

New in the last 3 months…: 2 x buckets of booze, 1 x USB charger, 1 x t-shirt, lots of fireworks, 1 x Postcards, 2 x Panda bread, Vodka, Vodka made from Camel milk, Vodka made from horses milk, Beer, Rice Wine, Various milk based products (Mongolia), 2 x Slices of cake, 8 x Buuz (Mongolian dumplings), 1 x Easter cake, 2 x Russian biscuits, 2 x Glasses of Wine, 2 x Russian remembrance tags, and lots of Belinis (Russian pancakes)

We will keep writing stuff like this down and update it again when our trip has come to an end…. Thats right, less than three months left….

R&E

 

Birch trees and Russian Priests… Crossing Siberia

Ryan was awoken to discover the man with a small boy sitting on his lap were talking to him. We had already been in the cramped, musky platzkart (3rd class) carriage, for thirteen hours and we had another eighteen to go, but it seemed for our neighbours that their stop was coming and this was their last chance to speak to the strange non Russian speaking foreigners. Through the man’s limited English (entirely consisting of ‘hello’, ‘how are you?’ and ‘my name is…’), our limited Russian (mainly consisting of ‘piva’ which means beer and ‘banan’ which means banana) and our trusty phrase book we managed to work out the boy was called Alexander and that the man was from Uzbekistan. Another guy, who may have been some kind of travelling religious preacher, emerged and could speak some English, well enough to tell us he’d been to the Netherlands to see a life-size recreation of Noah’s ark. Our conversation ended with handshakes and everyone saying ‘paka paka’ or bye…we had made friends on the Trans-Siberian railway.

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Cracks in a frozen lake…Irkusk and Lake Baikal

All women must cover their heads as they enter a Russian Orthodox church, so I throw my scarf over mine as we went inside Znamensky Monastery in Irkusk. The air was thick with incense and candle light, which reflected off the golden images of Christ which hung on every wall. We then noticed a crowd off people to our left, around a priest and a small number of nuns dressed in black. As their a-capella, harmonising song floated through the air, I realised they were praying over a dead body lying in state. I was torn between an urge to get closer to see the body up close and a childish fear at the prospect. As the service reached its climax the singing got louder, until all the congregation blessed themselves and departed. Considering this was our first full day in Russia and none of us had ever seen a dead body before, the country was getting off to a memorable start.

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