A Russian idea enters our heads

 

Whilst eating our breakfast on a hot Saturday in February 2009, Ian and I suddenly decided we might like to go for a trip on the Trans Siberian Railway. It seemed a very romantic and exotic idea plus Siberia would be quite cold which was very tempting to two people already sick of the hot Australian summer. We needed to investigate options. For starters: could we afford it?

Normally on Saturdays we clean the house through. Well, I tell you that particular Saturday we really raced through the housework. I don't know which of us was the keenest to get to the travel agency.

Cost of the Trans Siberian trip

The agent we visited (Janice) said no-one at her agency could afford to go on the Trans Siberian Railway. Our hearts sank. Surely we could find a way to go that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg. Ian is a casual bus driver and I'm self employed working from home. We are not wealthy people and neither of us gets holiday pay so we have to watch our dollars and get the best value possible for our money. One bonus we had was the 20 years worth of Qantas Frequent Flyer Points up our sleeves. We arrived back home that morning with a few brochures and hearts that were somewhat heavier than when we left home. This is one trip that is going to cost a lot of dollars even after using our Frequent Flyers for much of the travel.

Ian checks out all the Russian travel brochures
Ian browsing travel brochures  

Cheaper options to tour Russia

We thought we had better look for some cheaper options. Could we possibly complete this long journey without a tour escort? Are we brave enough to travel through Russia by ourselves? We don't know a word of the Russian language. A visit to the library was needed.

It didn't take us long to realize that organizing something like this was going to be a daunting task. We know virtually nothing about Russia, so we both have a steep learning curve ahead of us.

We have begun scouring the internet for information. Details on journeying across Siberia are hard to find and information conflicts. How do other travellers manage with this lack of information? We're glad we are not leaving for Russia next week as we are totally unprepared. Tentatively we are heading over there in 2010. Full steam ahead........

 

Next: The start of our Russian journey

 

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