Tag Archives: trip

The overnight train to Vologda

My apologies for not putting up a post for the last week. It’s been busy since we returned from Vologda Monday morning. But I’ll be publishing lots of photos from Vologda over the next few weeks to try and make up for it.

A countryside scene on the way to Vologda.

A countryside scene on the way to Vologda.

It takes about 12 hours by overnight train to cover the 600 kilometers from St. Petersburg straight east to Vologda, a small, “authentic,” Russian town. We, the whole Duke in St. Petersburg group, left for Vologda last Friday evening, spent two full days there, and returned to St. Petersburg early Monday morning.

Vologda is several times larger than Rockville, or for you Dukies, around the size of Durham, but it retains a small-town feel, perhaps because it’s population is spread over such a large area. Few tourists venture to Vologda, and just about zero Americans. It’s a pity, because Vologda and the surrounding area is beautiful, full of old Russian (15th-16th century) churches and monasteries, open countryside, and fresh air.

I’ll be writing more about Vologda as I sort through and post photos from my trip, but for now, click here to view photographs shot from the windows of our leisurely train ride.

A steel plant near Vologda.

A steel plant near Vologda.


Stopping in Finland, briefly

The Helsinki airport has free WiFi. Finland – 1 America – 0.

Everything in this airport is made out of wood. The walls. The stall doors in the bathroom. The floor tiles. It gives off a nice vibe, sort of like walking into a mountain lodge. 

But more to the point, I’ve been realizing how many “firsts” today has brought:

  1. First time flying over a big body of water.
  2. First time on FinnAir (and on an Airbus A330)
  3. First time in Europe (and Finland, and soon to be – Russia).
  4. First time being anywhere where the native language isn’t English.
  5. And soon, it’ll be my first time going through customs. Russian customs, at that.

I’m sure I’m missing a few, but needless to say, I’m excited, and the adventure has only just begun. I’m hoping that the adrenaline from said adventurous feelings will carry me through the day. I’ve been up since 6:45 a.m., East Coast time on Thursday and it’s now about 9 a.m. here. I’m feeling it a bit. The plan is to run through to St. Petersburg, crash tonight, and instantly adjust to the time change. I’ll let you know how that goes.

The journey begins


My Day

I’m now in the killing time at JFK airport part. I’ve already eaten my $5 slice of pizza, so now I’m consuming $5 internet. 

There’s an 8 hour time difference between the East Coast and St. Petersburg, and a 7 hour difference between here and Helsinki. I’ll be entertaining myself on the 8+ hour flight with The Economist, Outside magazine, and Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. And sleeping, hopefully.