Home, At Last!

Yesterday marked my return home after 291 days abroad. Ever since leaving my other home in Guangdong I have often reflected on my time there with fondness. But even still, the fact I have left hasn’t really sunk in. My time in China has affected me profoundly and, I hope, for the better. I think when looking back I will divide my life into ‘pre-‘ and ‘post-‘ China. Though that’s assuming I don’t return!

It’s wonderful to finally be back home although, as I feared in such familiar surroundings, it has very quickly come to feel as though I never left. On the plus side, there is much to look forward to with a new teaching job starting in September. Before that time comes I must bring you up to date with the rest of my journey back from China.

The remainder of my Trans-Siberian adventure was a treat, but flew by much too quickly. Jo and I enjoyed a fabulous week on horseback, trekking and camping across the Mongolian Steppe; an idyllic stay on Olkhon Island, surrounded by the crystal-blue waters of Lake Baikal; a lovely couple of days in the eccentric city of Tomsk; and a restorative few days in Europe’s Easternmost city, Perm.

The reunion with my family in Moscow did not disappoint. We all enjoyed two perfect days in Russia’s wondrous capital seeing the Kremlin and the famous onion domes of St. Basil’s. At this point, Jo continued on her way, determined to complete the journey home by train (only China’s stance on Tibet thwarted her original intention to do the whole journey from Kathmandu by train [see her blog here]). Jo was brilliant company all the way along and I would never have gained so much from this experience without her.

While she was spending one or day in Moscow before progressing to Kiev, we took the fast train to St. Petersburg, the Venice of the North. I was treated to 5 nights of relative luxury, soaking in the city’s undoubted beauty and also fitting in a 9-hour stint at the Hermitage.

Obviously there is far more to say about this journey than I could possibly write down in this blog, but in the next few weeks I will do my best to give you a flavour of my Trans-Siberian experience. The next blog I write will be about the trains themselves. They certainly deserve a post to themselves having cumulatively taken as much time as any of our stops.


Below are miscellaneous photos in Mongolia courtesy of Richard and Margaret, an Australian couple with whom we shared the horse-trekking experience. There would be more, but I am waiting on Jo for her photos thanks to a camera malfunction whilst in Mongolia.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.