Around the world

We are really enjoying the current BBC series of “Around the World in 80 days.” Not least for the bits we travelled ourselves.

We have travelled across Europe, by taking the Eurostar and changing trains in Paris, although while Skinner and Mack headed south
We’ve also travelled from Moscow to Ulaan Bataar via the Trans Mongolian- on our Honeymoon no less! Our experience of the trans siberian from Moscow to Ulaan Bataar was closest to the crumby 4th train Julia Bradbury and Matt Baker took from Lake Baikal, it was Mongolian run train number 4. I remember sitting in the amazing Mongolian restaurant Louise Minchin sat in on the train back to Russia- it was on our train from Mongolia to Beijing. We were pretty glad they glossed over the Russia-Mongola border as the crossings was quite nervy even when we did have the correct papers! The first class compartment enjoyed by Bill Turnbull and Louise Minchin was almost a world away from the 4 birth standard class compartment we enjoyed for most of the journey.
In Mongolia we stayed in a ger camp, a hotel made round gers. Although the furniture an construction was authentic, it was in better condition than in regular gers. However we did meet nomads during our stay. Their ger had one luxury ours didn’t- satellite TV! There was no mobile signal in the valley of the ger camp- we had to climb the hill to one side. And from the top of that hill for miles around was- nothing! Nothing except the massive statue seen at the end of episode 3 which at the time was under construction.
A contrast with the original was the number of detours due to visa problems. For our own trip the visas were organised in advance by a tour operator. I wondered what happened for Michael Palin- were things more planned or less fraught then?
One thing the series has done has been to get us to get out our atlas out and plan future adventures. They may well be dreams, family, finance and the environment may derail them, but dreaming them is an enjoyable passtime.

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