A Travellerspoint blog

farewell to our traveling companions

bye bye friends

so sad, we have got to know our traveling companions like a family during thers last 3 weeks. all will be going their seperate ways, 2 to australia, 1 back to england and the rest of us in various directions. one couple have been traveling for 2 years, makes us look feeble! fond farewell friends! till we meet again..
taking a taxi to our backpackers hostel (cost all of £4) cheap and safer than mongolia! took us about 1/2 hr to get here. super place, couldnt have chosen better for possition to everything. have been able to walk to lots of the sights. the metro is quick, safe and very cheap (20p per journey). have been to the silk market - an experience in itself- dont go if you dont like bartering and being help prisioner by the stall holders until you buy something!!!!!!!!
we did buy another camera! oops! no this one is a novelty toy at least thats what i call it. it is a 'key ring micro camera' as the name suggests it is small, but will take videos and still pictures cheap at the price! easily reached by metro is the olympic park. inside the birdsnest you are entertained by high wire acts, shows and football!
notes of interest in beijing; a pint in the backpackers cost £1. in the city centre outdoor 'bar' areas (its in the 90s here) it costs all of £1.50 pint. from any local 'shop' (if you can call them that!) its 40p-but you always ask for a cold one if they do it. we stoped ar one of these one hot and dusty afternoon to refresh ourselves, the kind lady brought them out and opened them, but no glasses. luckily we had plastic ones in our bag, so a couple of hours passed just watching the world go by. busses are interesting- just how many chinese can you fit onto 1 bus?!!!!!!!!!!!!!
brings back memories of the mongolian bus ride!- ever played 'sardines'?..
a meal tonight costs ua all of £4 each. rows of uncooked food came along (like sushi bars) to which you helped yourselk and cooked it yourself in a little heated bowl of 'soup' all you could eat for as long as you wanted, plus fruit and soft drinks in abundance! yes this is definately turning into rose and mikes great food adventure!!!!!!!

Posted by rosewmike 08:40 Comments (0)

st petersburg

trans siberian railway and great tour of china

sunny 13 °F

Our second day in St petersburge. ( 7 weeks to get to Hong Kong!) Did our own walkabout today, exploring the area on foot. Thought we had sat around too much for the last 2 days!. Had an interesting time in a local Church (beautiful building, hundreds of icons)
There was a service taking place. it was packed. remembered to pull my hood up on my fleece as woman can't go in without head covered (men opposite!) This was a 'walkabout 'service too! No seats, everyone in huge random lines , waiting for paper to write prayer lists, for candles to light, to wait to get to the front where 'the action was!', there was a long table the length of the building where more waited to place gifts of food on- it was piled high.Singing was very moving.
We walked beside the river Neva, watching the melting ice flows. Ducks and birds catching fee rides.must have cold feet!
In a park a couple sat cuddling a Bear cub (had to pay to take a picture) We saw lots of other 'bears 'of a different kind!. All alondg the sheltered walls of the Peter and Pauls Fortress a variety of 'bear' flesh was standing. Russia sun worships had all come out to bear all in this amazing weather. Apparently they only get about 35 days like this a year- so they make the most of it (temp today +7 to +13- hotter in sheltered areas) The strange thing is everyone STOOD, in various poses- front ,back.sideways, legs astride,up,down arms up, out, the better the pose the more sun you get!. we didnt think we had better show you any pictures! leave it to your imagination!.
So much for walkabouts, bears and worship!
Met our group today 6 plus our Mongolian group leader, all interesting, well travelled people. Looks all set for a good time. One young couple are travelling for 2 years around the world and are about 3/4 way through, anothe chap came here from England by train (Euro to Paris, then on to St. petersburg). Makes our 'adventure' seem quite tame! Think we will enjoy ourselves though!

Posted by rosewmike 08:36 Comments (0)

china

beijing

beijing is a vibrant busting city. everywhere you turn there is something interesting. the people are friendly and will go out of their way to help (as were the other countries we visited) THE GREAT WALL WAS REALLY GREAT! enjoyed that so much, will be going back twice to different places to visit!. all the other usual 'tourist' places live up to expectations. except at the temple of heaven i sliped on the marble steps, put my hand out to steady myself, and banged the camera against the wall. the lens got stuck and nothing worked. our guide took us to the city center where we tried severel shops before finding a reputable dealer to mend it . we had to do the usual and haggle a price! and it was fixed in 2 hrs!. in the meantime just in case it failed we bought a cheap camera which had the lady running after us all the way down the street to secure a sale! lucky we will be going back to the temple with our next group, so will catch up with photos then.

Posted by rosewmike 08:22 Comments (0)

china border

changing the bogies

had heard a lot about changing these bogies to a narow guage. arrived at border crossing late at night. it took just as long as the russian/mongolian border crossing - 9 hrs on each then we still had these bogies to change. there was a lot of pushing and shunting and banging as each carriage was unhitched into a large shed. for such a big job, there were very few workmen. it took just 4 men to push the buttons and line up the jacks that lifted us up, then power cables pulled the old bogies out and the new ones in! so easy! a few more button pushes and down we went. another lot of shunting, banging and clanging and the train was back together!. we had arrived in china!. but we needed the rest of that night to catch up on our sleep- you try sleeping when all that was going on !

Posted by rosewmike 06:10 Comments (0)

into china

final train journey

leaving mongolia was quite sad, would like to have spent more time there (not with the traffic though!) also knowing that our 8,500 kilometer journey was nearing its end. we had only 1 more night to spend on the train.
one little boy on the platform attracted our attention, he was shy and wanting some money. severel of us had a few notes of mongolian money not spent, so we threw them out of the window to him, along with a bar of english chocolate that had survived this far. you should have seen his face - it was worth it! later we saw him sharing it with what looked like his 2 younger sisters, hand in hand going away. we still had more chocolate, so attracting his attention we threw it out to them, such grateful faces !. its times like this that makes traveling very special.

Posted by rosewmike 05:57 Comments (0)

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