Last week, I travelled to the south of Mongolia on a week-long guided tour. Along with the guide, two drivers and 7 other travellers from Holland and Belgium, we set off from Ulaanbaatar in 2 Russian 4×4 vans, to explore the Gobi desert.
I spent my first few days in Mongolia in the capital city. I prepared for my week-long trip into the Gobi desert. This included grocery shopping, but also getting to know the country and some of its history before heading south.
The city of Irkutsk was my last stop in Russia. After the tough but beautiful hike at Lake Baikal, I had one free day left to explore the city, before I would take the train to Mongolia.
When my train arrived in Irkutsk on Saturday morning, I went straight to the most popular destination on Lake Baikal’s 2000km long shoreline: Listvyanka.
I have to admit I was a bit sad when my train rolled into Irkutsk Passazhirskiy station this morning. Living on a train for 83 hours was everything I hoped it would be, and more. It was the ultimate way to get to know Russia.
When the plans for my trip were made, it became clear pretty quickly that I would have only one day to explore Moscow. In order to make the most of that day, I planned it all out in advance.
After yesterday’s crazy adventure, the second day of my journey to Moscow was a breeze. Not long after boarding the train, my roommate and I folded away the seats and pulled the beds out of the wall so we could sleep, setting our alarm clocks for 05:00, for the border crossing between Poland and Belarus.
My journey to Moscow began a lot more chaotic than I expected. My parents dropped me off at the station in my home town and all seemed well. Until I reached Amersfoort, where I was supposed to take the train to Berlin. But that train never showed up.
Tomorrow I begin my overland journey from Holland to Hong Kong. My backpack is all packed. It’s probably far too heavy. This is my first backpacking trip and I’m slightly nervous. This is the moment when my brain always tries to tell me I’m forgetting something important. I’ve had so much time to prepare and it never feels like I’ve done enough.
As it turns out, big cities aren’t exactly ideal road trip destinations. During my tour of Italy, this became particularly clear in the capital city. Despite that, I only needed two days in Rome to fall in love with this city. I can’t wait to return for a more extensive visit of Rome and the smallest country in the world: Vatican City.
Continue reading Travel Journal: Two days in Rome