I met an Aussie in Chengdu who said - “Yeah, we just got off a THIRTY hour train trip and we’re totally bushed. So we’re going to take a couple days in Chengdu to recover”. I couldn’t help it and burst out laughing. Ha, 30 hours! That’s like a commute.
It got me thinking about how much of this trip was actually spent looking out the window of a train. So I tabulated mileage and time spent in a 43.281 square foot cabin (I measured).
Torah’s trip by the numbers:
Ulaanbataar – Irkutsk – 1,110 kms – 36 hours
St. Petersburg – Kizhi (round trip in one day) – 788kms – 17 hours
St. Petersburg – Moscow – 634 kms – 8 hours
Moscow – Almaty - 3082 kms - 83 hours
Almaty – Urumqi –1374 kms – 32 hours
Urumqi – Xi’an – 2568kms – 41 hours
Xi’an – Chengdu – 842kms – 20 hours
Chengdu- Lhasa – 3360kms – 44 hours
Total mileage in 3 months = 13,748kms
Total time spent on trains = 281 hours
That means that 12 full days were spent sitting on a bunk bed, gently rocking from side to side, listening to the clak-clak and trying to find entertaining things to do for 192 waking hours. It may sound like hell to some people, and to others it may be that these numbers are so unfathomable that it sounds almost doable. Either way – it is possible and I loved it.
Long live train travel.