And so it begins… A new journey, a new country.

Russia is unlike any other place I have been. I am struggling to describe it at the moment, so I’ll save that for a proper blog post.

I have mixed emotions about this new trip. Possibly for no other reason than I arrived here just under a week ago with no greater plan other than to get to Moscow, get on a train to Siberia and once there, start cycling vaguely westwards. For a trip that has been on my mind for so long, I am overwhelming under-prepared and disorganised. For those who know me well, you would say that is how all my trips start (and continue). But with this I have reached new levels.

Actually, I have been surprisingly unenthusiastic about this new country. The reason is simple: I am tired. Who would have thought that sitting on my arse doing little else but typing and thinking for ten months could be so tiring! But the book that I have written with dogged determination is finally finished and I can feel the weight of those 340 pages finally lifting off my shoulders. I am a sucker for punishment though, and I’m replacing them with a giant rucksack… Right now I’m finding it hard to believe I am ‘travelling light’ on this trip.

I have been sleeping lots, which I haven’t done in a long time. And slowly I can feel my energy returning. It’s a good job I have a week’s worth of train rides to get to Irkutsk, where I will begin cycling. Hopefully. At the moment I do not have my bike. I have sent it on ahead, on a cargo train, where it will reach Irkutsk before me and await me finding the warehouse where it is stored. That was not my original intention, but within minutes of leaving the airport in Moscow, bound for the city centre, a new plan was forming. Yes, this is why it is sometimes good to have no plan.

I am now free to travel the 5,000 km across the heart of Russia without the the hindrance of a large box with my bike in it. It is almost ten years since I travelled in a country where I speak none of the local language and now I am at the mercy of public transport too. In some ways, it would have been easier to cycle…

But less of my waffle… here are some photos for starters.

St Basil's Cathedral
St Basil's Cathedral
City under construction
City under construction
Red Square
Red Square

Leaning Lamppost
Leaning Lamppost
Kazan Church
Kazan Church
St Basil's Cathedral
St Basil's Cathedral

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