When I got to work I started pricing airfare to Ireland. After a glass of water to recover from the shock of the king's ransom I would have to shell out to get to and around the Green Isle, I started thinking about other interesting (read: cheap) places to visit.
What about Russia? How many people do you know that have been to Russia? Maybe I could get in on the ground floor of a hip new destination spot. After all, Russia is just a $647 ticket, a 16-hour plane ride and a layover in Frankfurt away.
So I started researching all that Mother Russia has to offer.
You can go to Moscow. Or St. Petersburg. Or, uh...um...did I mention Moscow? I read that the weather ranges from "Subarctic to Tundra."
Then I stumbled upon what appears to be the most physically draining, mentally taxing, spirit crushing, teeth gnashing, (you get the idea) experience of a lifetime. A chance to ride the infernal beast of a machine that spans "Eight time zones, territories of 14 provinces, 3 regions, 2 republics and one autonomous region of the Russian Federation [and] the 16 greatest Eurasian rivers": the Trans Siberian Express.
The final detail about the Mother of All Trains, neither damning nor praising, is simply this:
I cannot possibly imagine what awaits a tourist for an experience that would feature this as a tagline. And it makes me want to buy a ticket even more to endure each of the 9,288 kilometers from Moscow to Vladivostok.
This journey, which lasts about a week,
won't leave you indifferent.
I spent a few minutes visualizing myself aboard the Trans-Sib (as it's called) looking past grimy windows barreling through the Ural Mountains as I shiver beneath layers of clothing with only a ratty Dostoevsky paperback and tepid gruel to sustain me.
Now that's a vacation.