top10: Russia and the Trans-Siberian Express

By the time this goes live, I should be in Northern Thailand, and unable or unwilling to spend much time writing for this blog. To make sure content gets posted regularly, I’ve decided to set up what I’m calling the top10 series to upload automatically each Saturday.

The top10 series will showcase my ten best photos from each country I’ve visited. ‘Best’ in this instance defined as not necessarily technically excellent (especially to start with, when I was using an old and poor quality camera), although I hope many of them will be. These will have to be something I think is particularly interesting, characteristic of the country, encapsulating a vivid memory I hold of that place, or, yes, just ones that I think are especially beautiful.

The rules:

  • There will be 10 photos per country. Once every week.
  • The photo must be taken by me. I’ve put quite a lot of photos up here from friends, but to qualify for the top10, it will have to be one of mine.
  • No zoos. More broadly, I will disqualify photos that are ‘staged’ or fake. If there’s a photo of an animal, it will be wild.

There may be slight flexibility in these for anything particularly good, but I will try to stick to them, and will declare it if any of them get broken.

I will be uploading them in the order I visited the countries (Russia, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, The Philippines, Hong Kong & Macau, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand). That means that after the first three weeks, I will be uploading photos that haven’t been posted before. There may be ones from the first weeks that will be new too; I don’t remember which ones have been put up before.

So those are the ground rules. Let’s get on with the photos!


IMAG0145St. Petersburg at 3AM. Taken with my phone. Admittedly poor quality, but it shows just how light it is at all times during the summer solstice – St Petersburg’s ‘White Nights’.



They say Lake Baikal’s water is pure enough to drink, straight from the shore. It tasted pretty pure to me!



The Trans-Siberian Express, winding through the Siberian forests.


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The Ekaterinburg Keyboard Sculpture



Traditional wooden housing in Irkutsk



Dinner aboard the Trans-Siberian: Strawberries, vodka and beer


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Downtown Omsk. Very Soviet.


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The Cathedral of the Resurrection in St Petersburg. I struggled to decide between this and a photo of St Basil’s in Moscow, but everyone knows that one, and there are hundreds of other crazy looking orthodox cathedrals across Russia.



A very Russian salesman on the shores of Lake Baikal



I don’t actually remember where this was taken – somewhere between Novosibirsk and Irkutsk I think. It doesn’t really matter though; this could have been taken on any of the small railway station platforms we stopped off at along the way through Siberia. The small impromptu markets meeting the train pop up everywhere, selling all range of fruits, snacks and alcohol.

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