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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Russia - 27 July, 2003



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Vladivostok (Hotel Vladivostok) N4307.091' E13152.665' 0 meters .
Vladivostok Train Station . . . .
Finish Aboard Train #007 - Sibir (Vladivostok to Irkutsk) . . . .

Total (by train):

766 km

Total (Kamchatka):

1,339 km

Total (other):

199 km


2,284 km


Weather: Began overcast and cool/warm.  In the afternoon partly cloudy, occasional sun and hot.



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Time to get ready for the start of our Trans-Siberian train journey.  In the early part of the morning, we spend some time catching up on our journals and finish the packing of our bags and stuff.  We have quite a bit, but then again we have food for Mongolia and for the train ride.  Just before noon, we head out to run some errands and to get some lunch, when we see the huge crowds hanging out on the street in front of the hotel overlooking the gulf.  We remember that it is naval day, so we decide to head back to the hotel and up to the 4th floor cafe for a coffee and to watch the proceedings from there.


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Out in the gulf, there are a series of naval ships, from large to small in a line, with a black submarine finishing off the line of warships.  There are a number of other ships cruising around, along with another black submarine.  Just on time ,the noon day gun is fired off and the proceedings begin.  More guns are fired off and flares, red and green, fired up into the air, slowly drifting back down to the water.  A fire fighting ship makes its way from the line of ships towards the shore, with its water cannon spraying water high into the air.  It is followed by a landing ship that is covered with netting and has a fierce jagged mouth painted on the front.


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We watch all this for about 30 minutes and then have to make a move.  We have to vacate our room by 2 PM and we have things to do.  First we have a quick lunch and then head over to the internet cafe.  We have a couple weeks of mail to sort out and respond to.  As we walk down one of the main streets we notice a wedding party - here in Russia weddings last for three days - three days of straight partying.  Get married on Friday and party until Sunday.  Never change the clothes - the bride wears her dress for the whole time.  Finally, we do some shopping on our way back to the hotel.  As we make our way up the hill overlooking the gulf on our way to the hotel, we notice that things are going on.  A large cruiser is passing by at speed pretty near the rocky shore.


Once back at the hotel, we gather up our things and check out.  This time it is pretty straight forward - they do not come and inspect our room to make sure that we have not taken the ash tray or any of the light bulbs.  Down at the reception, we ask for a taxi to the train station.  We really do not want to walk there with all our bags.  Just one problem, we discover - the road to the hotel is closed, so no taxis can come here to collect us.  Not well organised as this is a major hotel (but most people come here in big groups, so they have tour buses), but, so be it.


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We gather up our bags and begin the walk down the steep hill to the train station.  Not nearly as bad as our walk to the hotel, as this time we are going with gravity.  Takes a bit less than 15 minutes and then we set up camp in the waiting room of the train station.  They have done a nice job and the mural on the ceiling is worth a good look.  It shows Moscow on one side and Vladivostok on the other and the connection by train.  We split up here - one to guard the bags and the other to run a few last minute errands.  We have to get some bread, fruit, snacks, water and, of course, vodka for the train journey.  While hanging out in the waiting room, we notice there are regular patrols by security and they kick a few vagrants out and make the sleeping people sit up.


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At around 5 PM we are ready to board our train.  We have done some exploring and have discovered the track and the train and our compartment.  We carry our bags (now including much more food and water) in stages down the many flight of stairs and on to the platform, where we board Train #007 - Sibir for our ride to Irkutsk and then on to Ulan Baatar.


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