Hei, We are a Finish couple traveling around the world and wanted to share something about our trip with all of you reading this blog.
I am 29 years old and my name is Henna. My husband is 32 years old and his name is Risto. I am not really sure how we decided to go on this trip but probably it was mainly out of curiosity. We realized that we only have one life to explore and experience the planet Earth we live on. And what would be an excuse good enough not to go? So we both quit our jobs and packed all our stuff in boxes and shipped it to my parents house where they will be stored untill we get back home in the end of January next year.
We left on this trip on the 29th of August. We took a train from Oulu to Moscow which took about 24 hours. We had a look at the city’s main attractions and stayed in Oasis hostel for one night. Then we continued to Slyudyanka by train. Even though Russia and Finland are neighboring countries neither one of us had ever visited Russia before. Risto spent his childhood only 80 kilometres from the Russian border but never went accross. The reason behind this is the difficult and expensive visa arrangements. We both love the nature and the vast Siberia and the worlds largest lake — lake Baikal — interested us. When traveling by train, we were able to see a lot more than if flying. So there we sat 89 hours in the Trans-Mongolian train arriving in Slyudyanka 4.9.
Through couchsurfing forum we had contacted Zhanna who warmly welcomed us to stay at her home. She met us at the station when our train arrived and together we took the bus to her place. On Wednesday we did a long walk together along the Circum Baikal Railway. It must have been at least 20 kilometres all together and my feet were really sore after we got back. I think walking was a better way to see the surroundings of the lake than taking the train! We were lucky to have a really good weather with blue skies and +26 degrees. We visited a small museum / art gallery on the way with the lady explaining to us all about the art in Russian and Zhanna trying to translate it to us in English. We couldn’t speak any Russian when arriving and only have learned a few words on the way. The cyrillic alphabet makes reading Russian words very difficult. The most beautiful place along the walk was a beach right at the end of our walk. The beach was full of soft edged stones and the water was very clear.
We have had the pleasure of meeting also Zhanna’s mother and grandmother and Zhanna’s brother’s 13 -year old daughter who all are fiendly and good-hearted people. We have spent a very relaxed time with Zhanna enjoying the peacefulness of the town of Slyudyanka and enjoying the walks along the shores of lake Baikal. During this four-day stay we have discussed a lot about traveling but also about the way life is in Russia and Finland. We can recommend travellers to come to Slyudyanka to get the real feel of small Russian town.
Early tomorrow morning we will continue our journey to Ulaanbaatar by train. We will stay there four days and then continue again by train to Beijing. 18.9. we have a flight from Beijing to Indonesia. From there on our trip continues to Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Peru, Chile and Ecuador. At least that is the plan at the moment. You never know what happens on the way (;
If you are interested to follow our trip we are writing a blog to http://ristonreissut.blogspot.com. It is all in Finish but there are also some photos. Be warned about using Google translator to read the blog. We had some great laughs when we read our blog translated to English. Some of the texts literally turned to the opposite meaning. For online translators Finish is a really challenging language.