Trip Start May 05, 2004
46Trip End Jun 16, 2004
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Where I stayed
All plans for the Trans-Mongolian route were made through White Nights International Tourism at www.wnights.com. We'll be able to give an opinion on their service in a few weeks! At least for the planning side it's been good.
May 6, 2004 - Airport car transfer to Hotel Moscow
The driver will give us the train tickets to Moscow upon arrival
May 6-9, 2004 - Double room at Hotel Moscow
To do in Piter:
Walking tour of the city: http://www.peterswalk.com/
FC Zenit soccer match
Cathedral of Peter and Paul
Cafes along Nevsky Prospekt
May 9, 2004 - Train 159 to Moscow, about 6 hours
May 9, 2004 - Train station car transfer to homestay
The driver will give us the train tickets to Irkutsk and from Irkutsk to Ulan-Bator upon arrival.
May 9-11, 2004 - Double homestay w/ breakfast
To do in Moscow:
Red Square, Krelmin, St. Basil's Cathedral
Tretyakov Gallery (Russian icons and pre-revolutionary Russian art)
Stock up for train ride
May 11, 2004 - Train 6 to Irkutsk, about 3 ½ days and 3,200+ miles
2nd class car means we will have room for 2 others in our cabin, hope they're nice!
To do: talking,sleeping, drinking, reading, writing, bathing in the sink, sock puppets, etc.
May 15, 2004 - Train station transfer from Irkutsk to Listvyanka, a small village on the shores of Lake Baikal. This is the standard tourist stop from the train ride to visit Lake Baikal
May 15-17, 2004 - Double room at the Hotel Baikal
To do in Listvyanka:
Take a shower
Walk along the lake and the village
Take an icy swim?
Take a boat out on the lake
Eat some omul (dried fish)
May 17, 2004 - Car transfer to Irkutsk and homestay
May 17-18, 2004 - Double homestay w/ breakfast
To do in Irkutsk:
Have some dinner, catch train tomorrow
May 18, 2004 - Train 264 to Ulan-Bator, about 36 hours
May 20, 2004 - Train station transfer from Ulan-Bator to Terelj National Park (about 50 miles) "spectacular alpine scenery" according to Lonley Planet. Our driver will have our train tickets from Ulan-Bator to Beijing.
May 20-22, 2004 - Double yurt with sprinkles at the Hotel-Buuvelt Gers camp
To do in Terelj:
Take in the scenery, horse rides around hills/forest
May 22, 2004 - Car transfer to Ulan-Bator
May 22-23, 2004 - Double room at Hotel Bishrelt
To do in Ulan-Bator:
National museums and monestary around the central square
See stadium for Nadaam Festival, but sadly not the festival itself.
May 23, 2004 - Train 4 to Beijing, about 32 hours
Mongolia is the end of the car transfers, so the second half of the trip we'll be on our own getting from place to place.
May 24-27, 2004 - Double room at Peninsula Palace Hotel: http://beijing.peninsula.com/
We decided to get rather swanky after all the train rides etc.
To do in Beijing:
Walk the Great Wall
See Ming's tombs, Summer Palace, Tienmen Square and Forbidden City
Eat Peking duck
May 27, 2004 - Fly to Tokyo, about 3 ½ hours
May 27-30, 2004 - Haven't chosen lodging in Tokyo yet. At least one night with our friend Hiro, who lives just outside the city. Hiro was a student at Delaware for a year and a good friend to both of us.
To do in Tokyo:
Tsukiji fish market, watch sumo practice, see Hiro.
May 30-31 - Night train to Sapporo, about 13 hours
May 31-June2, 2004 - Stay at Ino's Place (www.inos-place.com) and one night with Dr. Kawamori and family. Dr. Kawamori owns a coastal engineering company in Japan and I had the chance to give him some english lessons while he was staying in Delaware. Unfortunately I didn't pick up any Japanese during this time. He is a seafood fanatic and was especially fond of Maryland style steamed crabs.
To do in Sapporo:
Eat crabs with Kawamori, see the city
June 2, 2004 - Train to Tawada-Hachimantai National Park. In central Tohoku, which is the northern part of the central island of Honshu. Known for it's natural beauty, the area is replete with mountain ranges, lakes, streams and hot spring spas, called onsen.
June 2-4, 2004 - Stay at Tsuru-no-yu Onsen
This opened as an onsen in the mid-17th century. From Frommer's Japan: "...it's not refined or elegant; it's not even expensive. Rather, nestled in a wooded valley more than 1½ miles off the already isolated main Nyuto Onsen road, this is about as remote as you can get in Japan. And with its thatched-roof row house of tiny tatami rooms lit by oil lamps, complimented by the sound of rushing water and rising steam from the outdoor baths, it seems positively ancient." We're pumped to stay here, hopefully we can get reservations!
June 4, 2004 - Take train to Kyoto, maybe another 10-12 hours
June 4-10, 2004 - Double room at Tour Club Kyoto: www.kyotojp.com
We will see two more friends who stayed in Delaware for a time. Dr Takao Ota and Dr. Junji Inamoto. Ota is taking a 3 hour train ride to come to the city from his home in Tottori. Junji lives in the city. They will show us the city on the weekend of June 5 and 6.
To do in Kyoto:
Kyoto Imperial Palace, temples, shrines, gardens, castles
While based there we plan to have day trips to Nara and Himeji castle.
June 10, 2004 - Train to Kumamoto, maybe 6-8 hours. Hope to take a time to stop at Hiroshima along the way to see Peace Memorial Park.
June 10-13 - Stay in Kumamoto with our friend Dr. Fumihiko Yamada. He has arranged campus housing for us at Kumamoto University where he teaches. He says we'll have a few of his students at our disposal for local sites while he's teaching. What would a stay in Japan be without a few vassals for us to order around?
To do in Kumamoto:
Kumamoto castle and gardens, samurai mansion, nearby Mt. Aso
June 13, 2004 - Train to Nagasaki
June 13-15, 2004 - Stay in Nagasaki with our friend Dr. Tada. Dr. Tada was just leaving Delaware when we arrived and to be honest, we hardly remember him. But in all our mails with the other folks in Japan, a stop to visit Tada worked its way into our schedule. We are happy to see Nagasaki anyway! It is supposed to be one of Japan's most beautiful cities.
To do in Nagasaki:
Atomic bomb museum, see Nagasaki harbor
June 15, 2004 - Our second wedding anniversary!! We leave from Tokyo tomorrow so we plan to cover some of the distance between Nagasaki and Tokyo today. Of course it would be nice to end up somewhere nice for our anniversary. We'll let you know where we end up!
June 16 2004 - We depart Narita airport around 5pm. 12 ½ hours direct back to JFK. Bus service from JFK to Port Authority then Beiber bus from PABT to Kutztown. Car transfer by the Hollands from Kutztown to Reading.