Four months away with just a small backpack. Here`s a quick review…
– Vienna: a sunny start in a great city, feeling very much at home at Jan`s place. First sunburn of the season during our cycling trip to Bratislava.
– Budapest: It was hot and we were tired from the night train and sleeping on a hard couch. Need to visit it again.
– Poland: VERY positive. The sunny weather helped (it rained only once for about an hour). Hospitable people, cheap transport, beautiful nature, great hiking and biking trails (thanks to PTTK, the polish nature lovers association). Greatly recommended.
– Baltic States: We could have stayed longer but it was cold and rainy. We should go back and see more of the countryside. Tallinn is beautiful!
– “European” Russia: In through the back door, on foot over the bridge to Ivangorod, to be recommended. St Petersburg: very beautiful but too big for my taste. Moscow: Just too big. On the train to Lake Baikal: Less interesting towns but very hospitable people! Thanks couchsurfing.
– Siberia: Huge forests, never ending hills. Lake Baikal with beautiful beaches. Ulan-Ude, the town where we relaxed. Volunteering project in Buryatia: a unique experience, remote villages, beautiful nature. BAM railway: small soviet towns, talking to locals on trains.
– Sakhalin: the not-so-difficult-as-expected ferry ride from Vanino. Getting the oh-so-expensive ferry tickets for Japan. Finding the port only due to the help of a local who worked at the port.
– Leaving Russia: Out through the back door. Very easy, very recommended. No questions, no baggage checks.
– Arriving in Japan: Perfectionism come true. Washing off all that grub in a local public bath, sleeping soundly on a futon. Too perfect?…
What`s next? A long-distance train to Kyoto. A ferry to Korea. Then, we will see…