When one year ago I decided to start writing here, this project was terribly uncertain and hypothetical.
Now, exactly one year later, I have been diligently taking every necessary step and I am about to embark on this great adventure, with only a few things to do yet before it.
I remember dreaming about this kind of trip since at least 8 years ago, while I cannot deny that Asia and many of its several cultures have exerted a powerful attraction on me since I was a child.
I am on the edge of a change in my life.
Many people have asked me some detailed explanation on the route that I will follow.
Here it is:
On the 4th of February (incidentally, the first day after the Chinese New Year in 2011) I will take a train at a local station in Bilbao, and for the first time I will travel by train to San Sebastian, a journey that takes almost 3 hours, just to enjoy the landscapes of my homeland for the last time before I leave.
Another train will take on that same day to Paris, where I will stay for the weekend, immersed in the Parisian belle vie.
Then I will head to Berlin, where I was last year for 5 days, the gate to the formerly known as Eastern Bloc.
Poland will await me then, for the first time in life, and I will indulge myself some days in Warsaw before I enter Belarus and spend some time in Minsk, capital of the Commonwealth of Independent States (including Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Tajikistan), what remains of the USSR.
Yet again by train, I will reach Moscow at the end of February, and hopefully on time for the Maslenitsa (Russian Carnival).
I will meet some friends there, and stay for a week or so, and I will try to visit some of the jewels of the Golden Ring (ancient Rus towns surrounding Moscow).
Most importantly, I will then depart on the eastbound Transsiberian route, but first of all, I will stop at Nizhny Novgorod.
Some miles after that I will cross the invisible line between Europe and Asia, in March.
I will halt in Irkutsk, on the shore of Lake Baikal, but I'm not sure if I will make any other stop till I get to Vladivostok, on the Pacific coast (I am currently reading the Transsiberian travel guide and pondering options).
A ferry will take me to Fushiki in Japan (Takaoka, Toyama prefecture), on the West coast of Honshu (Japan's main island). It takes two nights to get there from Vladivostok.
I am really excited about getting to Japan, so I don't know what I will exactly do there, but I want to see as much as possible and stay possibly as long as one month there, despite it will surely be the most expensive country I will visit.
I will go to Tokyo first, and then other places in Honshu, like Osaka, Kyoto, Nara etc.
It will be the time of hanami when I get to Japan, the sakura (cherry tree) blossom, a greatly revered celebration for the Japanese (March/April).
I want to go further north, to Hokkaido island, a place of awesome wilderness and natural wonders, home to the Ainu minority.
Besides, I would like to taste the real countryside Japan somewhere, like Shikoku island, maybe.
I will leave Japan probably from Kyushu (the southern island), after visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki, taking a ferry to South Korea.
In South Korea, I will travel from the South to the North (Seoul), and then take another ferry to China (Tianjin).
If North Korea allows, indeed, for there are increasing threats of war in Korean waters.
Tianjin is the closest port to Beijing, so that will be my next destination, I will land there probably at the beginning of May.
The unavoidable Great Wall will be one of my sights too, but then I will stay mainly in the North of China, Manchuria (city of Harbin) and Inner Mongolia before I get into Mongolia proper.
In the Republic of Mongolia I will try to find out what to do in Ulaanbaatar and see if there is an easy way to adventure myself into the Steppe.
After Mongolia I will return to China to see the East coast (Shanghai and so) and the cradle of Chinese civilisation, between Yellow and Yangtze rivers (Xian and so).
Going southwards, I will arrive to Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
I will finally leave China from Southern Yunnan province.
There is a boat that will take me from Jinghong (Yunnan) to Chiang Saen in Thailand, through Mekong river.
Once in Thailand (visa obtainable on arrival), I will ask the visas for other countries in Bangkok, like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and India.
So far till June 2011... I won't anticipate more for the time being :)
Tibetarrak, Txinako begipuntuan.
5 years ago