Trans-Siberian Express: wrap up and stash your Roubles
The Trans-Siberian Railway runs from Moscow over the Urals, across the Steppes and alongside Lake Baikal, Asia’s largest and deepest freshwater lake. However, the bit they don’t tell you is that when it runs through Bandit Country, that’s Georgia to you, the locals board the train and basically take over the running of things.
Brothels and gambling carriages open up and in true Ryanair style, you’ve got to pay for every move you make – the loo included. The best thing to do? Find the most dangerous looking one (it won’t be hard to find a dangerous looking Georgian) and pay him off. Then it’ll be caviar and champers all the way home.... which you may not reach if you don’t cough up.
The trip takes about 2 weeks aboard the Golden Eagle and stops include the ‘Paris of Siberia,’ Irkutsk and Buryatia - a Russian republic you never even knew existed. Snow, frost and Georgian gangsters – all in will set you back €5,695 – and you may even nab a Russian bride in the bargain. gwtravel.co.uk
For more on the Trans-Siberian read Tiziano Terzani’s ‘A Fortune Teller Told Me' - an excellent travel read and essential for anyone considering rail travel.