Friday, August 7, 2009

"T" is for Travel

With Russia's large land area and harsh conditions, transportation has always been a major problem for its people and government. Things have gotten a lot better, but it will still prove to be quite an adventure!

Trains- The most famous railway in Russia is the Trans-Siberian. It runs 6,000 miles (the longest continuous rail line on earth) or 1/3 of the globe! You can also catch connections to Europe (Germany, Paris) or even to Budapest, Beijing, or Helsinki! The railway was the original vision of Czar Alexander III, but it wasn’t completed until 1905. When we travel to Pskov, we will most likely take the train to Moscow (12 hours) to finalize our paperwork and return to the United States. If we arrive via St. Petersburg, it is a 6 hour train ride from Pskov. I’m not sure on our modes of transportation other than the definite plane trip over there….ugh. Here is a picture of the train station in Pskov.

Planes- Right now, if I were to book a flight from our neck of the woods to St. Petersburg (per Travelocity) we would have our choice between Delta, Luftstansa, United, Northwestern, Continental, Air France, Royal Dutch Air, or Polish Airlines. It would cost about $800 per person and we would be in the air anywhere from 16 ½ hours to 28 hours! There are no direct flights so we would most likely layover in the states (Tennessee, Atlanta, JFK, D.C.) and then again in Amsterdam or Frankfurt. Either way we would leave one day and arrive the next day. To fly to Moscow is about 12-15 hours, with one domestic layover and then a straight flight into Moscow. But then you would have to take a 12 hour train ride! I keep telling Chad we could wait for the Alaskan Bering Straight to freeze over, drive to Alaska, over the frozen ocean into Russia and then through Siberia. It would only take us like- a year.
Automobiles- Michele sent me an interesting site called It blogs about weird and wacky places all over the world. They have a special “Best of Russia” series. You should definitely check it out Anyway, there is a “Worst Roads” category and Russia received the #2 ranking in the World! The road is in Siberia and is the only way to the city of Yakutsk. In the winter is a sheet of ice, which may sound like what qualifies it as the “worst” but in actuality the warm months are WORSE! The road turns into every redneck’s mudslinging fantasy. When cars get stuck they have been known to cause week long traffic jams stretching for miles. Women have given birth waiting for rescue. The city has to fly in rescue relief (food, clean water, medication) when it gets really bad. You have got to check out the link and look at these pictures! It sparked a long conversation in our office. “What makes you think you can make it 1,000 miles on THAT road in a tiny toy car?” “Why did that boy take off his pants to walk in the mud, but not his shoes?” “What would make you drive on that road if you were 8 ½ months pregnant?” There is also a funny story (with lots of pictures) called “one day in the life of a Russian motorist” If your car ever breaks down, you can look at these pictures and know that it could be MUCH, MUCH worse!
Boats- You COULD take a boat to Russia. It would take a REALLY long time! You could also watch “Deadliest Catch” and totally change your mind.


  1. I love this post. Travel in Russia is definitely not like anything you will experience in the US. Thankfully we never encountered any thing as close to the road pictured above!!

  2. I have just found my way to your blog....just web surfing! I love the ABC thing and I'm going to have to print each one for my children. We have 2 children from Pskov region (Pechory baby house). We adopted our son at 9 months in 2000 and our daughter at 2 1/2 in 2007. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!