Back in Oxford for the remaining week, we took some time to make some progress on THE PLAN.
THE PLAN is a 6-month overland journey from Moscow to Bangkok. And when I say “plan” I mean we have tickets from Moscow to Irkutsk on the Trans-Siberian railway and tickets home from Bangkok . However, as our route takes us through China and Russia, some further specifications have to be made.
(We = Luke and I. I’ll tell you more about Luke, who I persuaded to quit his job and run away with me, mostly because of the train, in a separate post.)
THE PLAN is leading us to Lake Baykal, where we hope to spend several days hiking and camping, on to Ulan Ude (mainly to see the massive Lenin head- which I am bizarrely excited about) and then into Mongolia. In Mongolia again we intend to do lots of hiking, camping and wandering, after watching the opening ceremony and a day of sport at the Naadam Festival. A Gobi tour is on the list as we wanted to insure less hassle and a constant supply of water, as is a visit to the great statue of Genghis Khan. We might even see if we can find the statue of the Beatles which is supposedly somewhere in Ulan Baatar, I hear that it features a bare-footed John Lennon and it would be a perfect addition to the ‘strange statues’ list… While we have only allotted a month for Mongolia’s vast expanse and obviously won’t see all or even most of it, we nonetheless want to do much of the journey on our two feet, roaming and camping, and seeing how far we get each day.
All of this is hazy and very flexible. The only set thing is that we are meeting friends in Beijing in the beginning of August. In China, the newly-formed fantastic-four tour group will wind its way from Beijing southward, taking in well known sights like Xi’an and the Terracotta Warriors, and less well known hiking trails, like Mount Wutai. That is, if we don’t succumb to heat and smog first. It will be August, after all!
And so begins our quest to understand and apply for Chinese visas. I am especially delighted as I will be completing this process in Moscow. I will update on any
mishaps progress as and when I get around to this, hopefully soon.
(Should any of you readers have any insight on applying for Chinese tourist visas for longer than 30 days, and or know how best to complete the process independently in Moscow, please give me a shout in the comments below!)