Do not let the appearances deceive you: This was a cultural trip, with the goal of immersing myself in the Russian culture and language. Learning a new language takes a lot of practice (and dedication!), and I only had 24 days to accomplish this. My Visa was actually longer, but as I was having way too much fun in Belarus and Kiev, I entered a bit later.

Itinerary

Moscow, Kostroma, Galich, Perm, Tyumen, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Sludyanka, Kyakhta

I traveled to Moscow by an overnight minivan (blablacar) from Kiev, that I had booked hours before departure.

I’m Moscow, I did couchsurfing, met some friends, trained in some outdoor parkspark celebrated the victory day.

I didn’t know where to go next, so I just looked at the map of the transiberian and picked a random city: Kostroma. It turned out to be totally awesome, did couchsurfing again (got hosted by 2 nice girls), rented a bike and fucked along the Volga river, and stayed a couple of extra days practicing my Russian with a cute girl I met.

Next stop i chose was Galich, a little village, because it had a lake and I wanted to see a local village. Climbed a hill and got awesome views.

Took an overnight train to Perm, and my couchsurfing host picked me up and showed me around, before going to a fun pub quiz. I also went to a football match, trained in the local outdoor gym, and explored the city in good company.

Tyumen had some really nice views on the river and old city, and met a few interesting people to practice my Russian.

Omsk was really cool, both the historical center, center and the outskirts. I had an awesome morning jog, and sauna with a really fun couchsurfing host.

Krasnoyarsk blew my mind. Beautiful nature nearby, great views from the city into the mountains and River, big park with all sorts of activities, awesome food, and a nice viewpoint. I rented an Airbnb apartment in the center and was very sociable during by time there.

Novosibirsk was get different than expected. There was no snow (although apparently it had snowed the previous week). The city center was tiny, but I met some awesome people who drove me around to lakes, parks and go-karting.

Irkutsk also treated me well. I applied for my Mongolian Visa there (took 10 minutes to receive), cycled around the city, worked out, and practice my Russian with some very interesting people that I met.

Sludyanka: I wanted to see the lake Baikal but I didn’t have much time and didn’t want to go to a tourist area, so I chose this city/village on my way for spending a few hours during the day before taking my night train to the border with Mongolia. I hiked up a hill, chilled by the lake, explored the city and ate a lot.

Kyakhta: border town, wasn’t there long, interesting how Russian and Mongolian looking people are both mixed up.

My Russian improved a bit πŸ™‚