This past week, I had the opportunity to take the first leg of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, or more specifically the Trans-Mongolian, from Beijing, China, to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Taking about 29 hours to travel between the two cities, the trip was long, but incredibly interesting and exciting.
After leaving Beijing at 8:05am, the train quickly left the city, passing through indistinct towns before traversing the mountains outside of Beijing. As the train traveled through 60 different tunnels, the landscape was breathtaking with valleys and peaks passing. In such areas, it’s not difficult to understand the inspiration for Chinese paintings.
Once the mountains pass, the scenery changed to farmland. For hours upon hours the train passed through small villages and fields. Eventually though, there was a noticeable change in the ground as it changed from dirt to sand. Inner Mongolia brings with it the Gobi Desert. While there might no sand dunes within sight, the scenery is mesmerizing. At this point in the journey, the sun began to set in the distance.
Despite the weariness from an entire day of train travel, it was hard not to be amazed by the beauty of the setting sun amid the harsh Gobi.
I’m very excited for the remainder of the train trip through northern Mongolia and Siberia on the way to Moscow, Russia. I have no doubt that it will be just as amazing.