Right. I think I’ve actually overdone myself in madness this time. But I believe in that simple-twist-of-fate I was talking about even more now.
Let me tell you what my plan was – yesterday. Oh : long post alert.
I wanted a holiday where I could relax, mentally. I have considered a week on the beach in Spain, but really that isn’t me anymore. Then I thought about the fact that I love travelling by train so much. It calms me down, I love that you can stare out of the window and see the landscape pass by. Or just put some music in your ear and disappear for some time. And I always get very inspired to write in the train. So something with a train would be good, I thought.
And if I am going to travel by train, why not do it the crazy way. I have never been to Russia, and Moscow has long been high on my list of cities I want to visit. So I start by flying from London to Moscow, and be there a few days. And then I will step on the train. And that train will take me through Russia, and Mongolia, and after about 6 days and a bit, I will hop off in China. In Beijing to be precise. I am taking the Trans Mongolian train from Moscow to Beijing. I don’t do any stop overs, I am just going to sit and sleep and live in this train, watch the landscape, think a bit, write a bit, meet people, and most of all – relax and enjoy the journey.
Now the original plan was that I would stay in Beijing for a couple of days, and from there, I would fly home to London.
What I hadn’t written about yet, because it is too embarrassing, and it is crazy, and you are going to say I’m stupid and silly and pathetic and too much – but here we go – apart from this whole train trip – I simply needed to see The Vertical Hour one more time, because it makes me intensely happy to see Bill Nighy perform. Go on – get it out – shout – scream – get tired of me – whatever. And this was all fine, as the last performance of this play was planned for the 1st of April and I had already booked tickets for that, ages ago.
I felt a slight hesitation yesterday to book everything for this train trip, and I waited one more day to actually do it. In stead of going to the Visa office yesterday, something in my head whispered I had to wait until today. I booked my visas this morning, and was planning to book the rest this afternoon (flights, trains, hotels). On the train to work this morning, a message popped up on my mobile. The Vertical Hour is closing 3 weeks earlier than planned, which meant that the tickets for the play I had were turned into useless pieces of paper (they get refunded – don’t worry). This wasn’t the worst thing, the worst thing was that the final closing date of The Vertical Hour now is changed to be the 11th of March. Had I booked yesterday I would have been in Beijing at that date.
But I didn’t book yesterday (I love those simple twists of fate). And so today I changed my somewhat crazy travelplan into an insane one, and it now look like this:
24th of February – Flight from London to Moscow
27th of February – at 21.30 I board the train in Moscow
5th of March – at 15.00 I arrive in Beijing in China (China! – I can’t believe it)
7th of March – I fly from Beijing to – I really have to do this there is no way around it – New York (I have new tickets for Bill already – so don’t let them change the dates again or I am going to scream!)
12th of March I fly from New York to London.
For me this journey simply has to end with Bill. And while I originally had a less hectic schedule, as I would have done the train journey, get home for a couple of days, and would then have left for New York again, I kind of like the way it is now. It is going to be a big big journey in several ways. I don’t know anything about China or Beijing or Moscow for that matter. Lots of impressions. But no matter what happens on that train ride, I am 100% sure my journey will have the best ending it can possibly have.
I am overly exited. And really nervous too.
My visas will only be ready a few days before departure so let’s hope they don’t get delayed somewhere as that would really mess things up.
And I haven’t heard anything from the train ticket agency yet either. I have now!
It is an insane trip. But I guess that’s how things go if you plan with your heart and soul in stead of with common sense.
Oh, on the above map (click for larger version) – I forgot to draw the line from New York back to London. Fear not, I will return to London. Green line is plane to Moscow, red line is train journey, and blue is plane to New York. It’s quite a trip.
I am ready for your:
– 6 days in a train – you got to be kidding – you will be bored to death
– oh no not Bill again
There is no way back for me now anyway and that feels so good.
16 thoughts to “The Journey of a Lunatic”
Talk about twists of fate indeed!!!
As for the other comments you were dreading ;-) here they go:
– 6 days on a train – how I envy you, what a wonderful trip!
– Bill again – the absolutely best idea you could have had for the second part of your holidays, just perfect!
Article in today’s Wall Street Journal: BEIJING “China out to fix its broken English”. For the next 8 months, 10 teams of linguistic monitors will patrol the city’s public places searching for gaffes to fix in its campaign to improve English translations in anticipation of hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Maybe you’ll get there before all the cute ones are replaced. I thought you’d like this sign posted in their parks: “Show mercy to the slender grass”.
Wow! I repeat: wow! As for Moscow: don’t forget to pack your woollies! It might be a bit nippy in Siberia as well… At any rate, you’ll have a good view of a real winter.
around the world in 16 (sixteen!) days
Phileas Fogg of London and his newly-employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager set by his friends at the Reform Club.
@Michele – I hope those signs are still there, because they really sound cute and I love signs, generally.
@Edwinek – I will dress warm. The train is warm though, and I am not going to walk around for hours in Siberia so it will hopefully be fine. I have no idea how the weather in Beijing will be though, I need to check up on a lot of things still.
@Joachim – To be honest, I didn’t know that Phileas Fogg actually started in London as well. The Journey around the world reference did cross my mind though :)
@Jill – it is a nice second half yes :)
Unfortunately the Reform Club has closed its doors long time ago and you bank account will have suffered a serious set back.
But the experience you will have gained!
I am sure glad that you have opted for blogging instead of writting your memoirs.
Crazy travelplans can be so much fun! I once went to L.A. for 3 days, including the flight. It was fun and felt a lot longer than just a weekend (eww..I suddenly recall a trip to Singapore and Bangkok and back in 3 days as well, but that was too much) Great plan!
Be sure to take lots of summery clothing as well, t-shirts and such. In Eastern Europe, ideas about what is nicely warm tend to be rather different from ours. Think: red hot heating systems. Especially on the train it might be hotter than you’d hope for.
Very exciting and so what you want to see Bill again? Every girl needs a hobby! I saw him last night in Notes on a Scandal, brilliant film.
Notes on a Scandal is brilliant indeed.
And regarding having a hobby, somehow collecting stamps seems to be a so much easier choice, as you don’t have to chase them! :)
Your a woman with direction.
Trains trip are great… you can meet so much people or just relaxing. Just keep going like this
Cool. I’m in the midst of planning travelling by train from london to moscow to beijing (transsib) to saigon (250hrs of train) then on to bangkok, singapore via train/bus from April. google threw up your nice little blog. Good luck!
Wow Ron, that is a very impressive trip you are going to do. If I had more time I would have liked to travel longer as well. Makes one wonder if one should take a sabbatical year to do some longer travelling at some point.
Good luck on your trip, and have a safe journey!
This sounds great i have been looking at doing this trip for some time now and after reading your blog i am definatwely going to do it! what an adventure! much better then sittingon a beech for a week in spain! although there is a time and place for such a holiday…
has anyone stayed in mongolia while on this trip?…