Don’t you just hate it when you think you’ve got this fab new idea, then someone goes and bursts your balloon ?. History is littered with slaps in the faces of genii who were too slow out of their blocks . This whole plan had been dormant for at least 2 years, so I’ve only myself to blame.
I am now viewing this
Moscow-Vladivostok: virtual journey on Google Maps
as an excellent precedent for what we are intending to do. The video footage of our trip, plus the stills, and the trip reports, and blog posts, will make for something a tad more interesting than steppe after steppe after steppe after steppe. The Trans Sib is just a mere snip of a journey at under 5,800 miles. The GCIRC covers over 7,500 miles of track, and another 350 of them on the road just for good measure. And of course the TS is just a case of climb aboard in Moscow and sit tight. If the train is slow for whatever reason, then you’ll just end up in Vladivostok a bit late. We’ve got no less than 18 trains, 6 road journeys, 2 ferries, the odd rickshaw, and a tram!. The possibilities for something unscheduled to occur are limitless.
The additional info we’ll be able append about things to do and see along the way, if you’ve got an extra 2 or 3 years to spare, is a whole different order of magnitude to what the Trans Sib can offer. I daren’t even attempt to work out how many languages, ethnicities, religions, and culinary varieties, we’ll be rolling through. We are visiting at least 3 of the most sacred sites in all India, plus several other world heritage sites, and that’s not including the hundreds of worthwhile places we’ll be traveling through, or within a couple of hours bus ride from, but not getting off at.
We wont be posting up any video nasties, I’ll leave that to the documentary makers. But there will be footage of “efficient use of rolling stock” if it comes my way. It’s likely that our last stop as we land at VT, all being well, will look a bit like this, but from the inside.
I know that’s probably not going to go down too well with some folks (I initially had to change the banner to this blog as it was claimed to be misleading). Our version isn’t going to flip into Russian either as soon as you click on any of the links. And I’ll also be able to offer backing tracks like the one below as a testament to the last two and a half centuries of cultural fusion between India and Britain, rather than having some guy reading Dostoevsky (that was a World Cup year joke fyi if you happen to be suffering from a humour deficit. I usually stick some Shivkumar Sharma on my Indian DVDs).
And before anyone has a go at me about where chicken tikka masala comes from, I have eaten proper Indian food before (you can actually get chicken tikka masala in India these days!). Which brings me to some sad news for London gastronomes. Ravi Shankar’s on Drummond Street, just by Euston Station, has had a change of owners and staff. In short, it’s no longer the best Bhel Poori stop this side of the Arabian Sea. Having eaten there for nigh on 30 years since my days at UCL, this came as a quite an unpleasant shock this weekend. This place played a pivotal role in my initial fascination with India. It’s still pure veg, but consists of a lunch time buffet. I don’t know, or care, what goes on in the evening. As I left for my obligatory stash of kala jamuns and sandesh from Gupta’s across the road, which is thankfully still there, I noticed Diwana was also dishing up a buffet lunch. Devotees of Gujarati and South Indian food will, I am sure, join me in a moments reflection on this sad news for West End nourishment. If you know where the original proprietors of Ravi’s have gone, please do let me know.