Sunday, 3 November 2013

November update on our travels


November 2013 
We can't decide on our title ..what do you this ?? 
The great escape ...again 
Our  great train journey of 2013/14 
Or 
Doing Asia 
Or 
what to do with a pensioner and two children :-) (andy's idea) 
Or 
The Transiberian train odyssey and other countries( i think I go with this one ) 

Anyway where was i 
Not withstanding our  last few great train journeys such as our  3 week great Easter/n European train trip in march 2011 visiting Lithuania,  Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania,  serbia, Bosnia herts, and Croatia ( what a wonderful trip that was) when Alisha was 6 and Seb was 3 yrs old. or our 16 days train / bus travel through the Balkans (serbia, montenegro, Croatia, Albania  ) when Alisha was 1 and half yrs old. 

We think the kids are now ready the big,  big trip, I would say of a life time but ...there is always the Silk Road journeys though Asia arrhhhh... Or the Americas or west Africa ...or . ( as you can see there's so much to see) ... its called Wanderlust ....

So as I said with pride Alisha has 23 countries under her belt and seb has 13 so we think / hope their ready as anyone for this one.  God willing ...

I have to say they are great little travellers very relaxed, comfortable in new surroundings, and confident, willing to talk to anyone.  They settle quickly wether its on a train, bus or in hotels / hostels. In the past i loved how they would make themselves
comfortable, set up their toys and start playing without any stress. A chip of the old block :-) 

We have had an enjoyable year we have gone from gutting our house, to living in a caravan, to living out of a bag each ..Phew !! 

We have lived in stirling in Scotland, since April, we spent 7months  first living in our caravan in Alva and we now are staying the last few months in a small but perfectly formed cottage. 

But we are now In the ( payed up in full )  official count down,  4 weeks till we leave on the 3 rd December.  
Andy has 19 days work left ( not that he counting ;-)  

Yippee ..eek and all those scary thoughts... It's gonna be cold, (this week 1 november, Ulaanbaatar is already - 5 ) ....dam cold, poss minus 10 / 20 cold .... still, we are  good to go ....its only a matter of attitude and warm clothes...  keeping my kids safe and warm ( had a few panicky moments over this one, just after we booked our tickets for December :-) funny how you panic after the booking when we had spend months planning it ? 

we are of course still following the warm sun, we should hit it in Vietnam :-) its just the
long way round.  I plan to be scuba diving and sun bathing by February on the Vietnam
beaches. 

Our great train journey awaits :

Our  itinerary is as follow
The first part of our journey starts with an Epic 5 day rush to Russia :-) traveling
though the countries from England, to France,  Belgium, Germany,  Poland, Lithuania Latvia, we journey on the  EURO STAR to Brussels then the ICE train to cologne,
then the JAN KIEPURA sleeper train to Warsaw then Warsaw to St Petersburg. in
Russia

From there we travel on the TRANSIBERIAN/TRANSMONGOLIAN expresses
visiting St  Petersburg, Moscow,  irkurst, Ulan- Ude  in Siberia  then  Ulaanbaatar in
Mongolia where we will spend the three days including Christmas Day in a Mongolian
ger camp in the national park. It should be beautiful. I here they have big wooden
burning heaters in the centre of the tent!!!,.  ( a little travel  info..Ulaanbaatar is the
coldest capital in the world !)

We leave  ulaanbaatar on the 29 th December and arrive In china on the 30th 
December which is andy's birthday ( not a bad birthday present :-) 

As I write this now I feel more relaxed about the weather, im just teasing really, it gave
me a good excuse to shop :-).

 I did really want to see Russia,  with its onion towers and majestic building  and siberia and the urals in the snow. A real wintery wonderland, so heres hoping for snow. It's a good time to leave because as we travel south down from china it will only get warmer, and we also miss most of the rainy season throughout Asia, up to June at least. 

There is so many exciting things to look forward to I have wanted to go on the transiberian since I was 20 yrs old I even bought a book back then, which I'm using now. But also as I read about China  I find it offers  a wonderful culture, landscape and magical experience I am really looking forward to seeing. 

We wanted to do the whole trip from London  through asia by train as much as possible as we felt this was the real way to experience crossing so many countries and we do love train travel.

Itinerary plans 
We have organised the trip independently up to Vietnam so far with accommodations and  travel pre-booked, mainly  because of traveling on the transiberian route in winter which is in the low season and and also because the Chinese visa ask for our itinerary upfront.  The rest we plan to book as we travel around its much more flexible. 

We have so far sorted out 
>vaccinations... (Cost huge )
>Organisation of train trip to Russia ..3 day trains, 2 sleepers .

> The transiberian / Mongolian trains is a total of 23 days journey which we organised through ( real Russia .co.uk ) this is organised independently with them and not though a cushy ( for the softies tour :-) .....far cheaper that way.

>Accommodation up till Vietnam , we have used 'booking.com' and 'hostel bookers.com' as we don't need to pay upfront giving us flexibility to change where needed. 

> Visas for Russia, Mongolia, and china for four of us. 
A total of 12 application forms have been filled in and send of. 
At this moment we have our Russian visa and am applying for Mongolian as we speak, this  week our passports go to the Chinese embassy.  We can breath a sign of relief when we get them back. 

> In the next few weeks 
I also plan to organise our travel insurance for the next year 

>Finnish Buying stuff and Packing our back packs ( we have bought Alisha her first junior backpack so she can carry her own clothes, its even better than mine, with built in hydration system, ...jealous ...

Well that's it for now, further updates to follow x