Collective journeys by train and plane (or the accidental round the world trip)
For a few years we’d had an idea to make a round the world (RTW) journey without flying, but that takes a great deal of time to plan. So for 2017 we chose another dream to make a shorter Moscow to Vladivostok rail journey without stopping while continuing planning for our RTW epic.
After Brexit and then the Trump election it was obvious the whole world was due to change in ways that no one can fully predict, so by adding trains and planes to the Trans Siberian journey and loosely based on our existing rough idea for the RTW, we brought this mish mash of ideas together and brought it forward a year.
Here is the hastily planned itinerary for our ‘Accidental Round the World Trip’ as at 1 February 2017, all tickets are bought and paid for.
26 February 2017 - at about 23:30 we leave for the railway station for an appointment with a bus into London Liverpool Street. Our Eurostar train from St Pancras International doesn’t leave until 06:50 the following morning but engineering works on the East Anglia line for that weekend have effectively closed the line until possibly after our departure from St Pancras. So spending 3 or 4 hours in the St Pancras Station 24 hour Starbucks looks like our best option. Not an auspicious start to a rail journey but at least we will be warm and comfortable.
27 February 06:50 - train from London St Pancras to Bruxelles Midi by Eurostar through the Channel Tunnel. Now re-scheduled to 06:47
27 February 10:25 - train from Bruxelles Midi to Koln Hbf (Cologne) by German ICE train.
This is a really tight connection of 17 minutes (if both trains are on time) to change station levels, platforms and board the ICE train, but it is the recommended connection by Deutsche Bahn for this journey. Time zone from GMT + 1 hour.
27 February 12:48 - train from Koln Hbf to Berlin Hbf by German ICE train, arrive Berlin at 17:06
Tickets for London to Berlin bought from Deutsche Bahn (DB)
Overnight at Hotel Meininger about 100m from the station main entrance. Hope to enjoy an evening walk to the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, then continue on to eat near to the famous Friedrichstrasse Rail Station.
28 February 09:37 - train from Berlin Hbf to Warszawa Centralna by Polish (not sure of this) Warsaw Express
28 February 15:00 - arrive in Warszawa. Have a 1h 50m lay-over before the next train out. Barcuir very kindly pointed out a supermarket on the top level of Warszawa Station. This is important as the next train an overnight sleeper has no food and drink facilities, we are on-board for 15 ½ hours.
Tickets for Berlin to Warszawa bought from DB
28 February 16:50 - train from Warszawa Centralna to Kyiv Pas, Ukraine. Overnight sleeper in 2 berth compartment
1 March 09:22 - arrive Kyiv Pas. Time zone from GMT + 2 hours
Tickets for Warszawa to Kyiv bought through Polrail
1 March 19:33 - train from Kyiv Pas to Moskva Kievskaia.
Tickets bought from UZ (Ukrainian State Railways)
Overnight sleeper train in shared 4 berth Kupe (2nd Class) compartment. Our friends Rob and Martine are travelling with us from London to Moscow so a pair of friendly faces to share a compartment with. On ordering the tickets have also ticked the box for 2 teas each, although not quite sure what we will get I guess the suspense will mount as we get close to boarding.
Tickets were bought online and a ticket 'voucher' is issued. We can collect our tickets at Kyiv Pas main station by using the voucher details through an automat (maybe) or at the ticket office window No.12 in Hall 4. It's a 10 hour lay-over so plenty of time to get our tickets, have breakfast and visit a couple of places too.
2 March 09:48 - arrive Moskva Kievskaia (Kievsky) Station
Time zone from GMT + 3 hours
We expect to be met by Ruth from Taiwan who has flown in to Moscow so we can travel the Trans Siberian Express (TranSib) together.
All 5 of us are booked into the Ibis hotel about 200m from the station main entrance, it’s a good location with a lot of facilities immediately to hand including one of the famed Moscow Underground stations.
We are in Moscow for 4 days and 3 nights, our must sees are Lenin, the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics and of course a few of the Underground stations.
5 March 23:45 - train from Moskva Jaroslavskaia to Vladivostok, the Trans Siberian Express.
Tickets bought through Trans Siberian Express
We are booked on Train 002 Rossiya and have again booked a Kupe class (2nd) 4 berth compartment for the 3 of us, Rob and Martine have already moved on to St Petersburg, we’ll see them again when we return to the UK. It’s possible that we will travel all the time / some of the time / or none of the time with a 4th passenger, male or female as our compartment is classed as mixed.
We are taking the longest single train journey in the world – 6 nights and 7 days - and want to experience it in all it’s glory. There will be no breaks from the train at all from end to end. We will take the opportunity to buy food from the Babushkas on the platforms and walk a little too during suitable stops, but that’s all. It feels a little daunting as we could go stir crazy, but we’ll have to wait and see.
6 March 00:00~23:39 - on the train
7 March 00:00~23:59 - on the train
8 March 00:00~23:59 - on the train
9 March 00:00~23:59 - on the train
10 March 00:00~23:59 - still on the train
11 March 23:55 (train / Moskva time) - arrive at Vladivostok (Vladivostok date and time is 12 March 06:55, +12 hours ahead of GMT). We will need to find our ‘land legs’ after 7 days of train movement.
We are booked at a local hotel 500m from the station, we’ll probably walk that as exercise will be needed. We have booked the hotel rooms from the evening before arrival as there are no shower facilities on the train, plus we get breakfast and have somewhere to leave our bags. Hope to see the Russian pacific fleet while we are there and walk a little around the city.
13 March 13:30 - fly Vladivostok to Kaohsiung City, Taiwan via Hong Kong, looking forward to seeing Hong Kong at night on take off.
13 March 20:25 - arrive at Kaohsiung City, visit Taiwan with Ruth as our guide.
18 March am - train from Kaohsiung City to Taipei by high speed train
20 March 13:15 - fly Taipei to Los Angeles (LAX) via Beijing, have to say a sad goodbye to Ruth
20 March 18:00 - arrive in LAX to visit our friend Milton. We appear to have an arrival time 3 hours before we take off from Beijing, the wonders of technology.
We will make a visit to the LA science museum to see the Shuttle Endeavour, we’ll be escorted by Milton whose entire career was in rocket engines, so this could be a very memorable visit.
24 March 22:00 - train from Los Angeles Union Station to New Orleans (NOL) on the Amtrak train the Sunset Limited, 2 days of pure bliss. Now re-scheduled to 20:00
Tickets for LA to NOL bought from Amtrak
Travelling in full service sleeper, 2 berth compartment including all meals.
Milton is travelling north leaving on the same train but it splits and diverts north at San Antonio, Tx (SAS) heading for Chicago, this section of the train is the Texas Eagle, but we travel together for the first 24 hours.
26 March 21:40 - arrive in NOL and make our way to the first hostel we have ever used, looking forward to that.
29 March 07:00 - train from New Orleans to New York City (NYP – New York Penn Station) on the Amtrak train the Crescent.
Tickets for NOL to NYP bought from Amtrak
We really enjoy Greyhound buses but can’t use one for this journey, so we are travelling in Amtrak coach (standard but large individual seats) as the closest we can get with Amtrak.
30 March 13:46 - arrive New York City at NYP.
We may or may not meet up with more friends (Juanita and Bradley) here but are only in the city for about 10 hours so may not.
A visit to the Chrysler Building is our aim, we enjoyed NYC last year and will be pleased to walk around for a few hours again.
30 March 23:25 - fly NYC to London via Lisbon
31 March 17:45 - arrive London Heathrow.
Tube across London to Liverpool Street, commuter train back to Essex, we should have travelled all the way around the world?
Edited by v v, 20 February 2017 - 06:54 PM.