Whistle Stops: How To Travel By Train Almost Anywhere

Fed up with the unfriendly skies?  For a happy break from frenetic and increasingly unpleasant air travel, check out the award-winning “Man in Seat 61” a sophisticated, encyclopaedic website for travel by train, track-by-track, almost anywhere on the planet. This colossal collection of routes, prices, timetables, and even ferry connections generates fodder for heart-poundingly inspirational travel.

Hang out with The Man in Seat 61 for a fun jaunt like Moscow to Beijing via Kazakhstan.  Or, for more fun, he says, “It’s easy to travel by train all the way from the UK to Belgrade in Serbia, to Skopje in Macedonia or Podgorica, then to Bar in Montenegro.”

We love his “Beginners Guide to train travel in the Ukraine.” Malta anyone? Kenya? And/or even a choo choo in Morocco?  No prob. Delve directly into the details of even more far-flung tracks in Bangladesh (Dhaka to Chittagong e.g.) or in Australia: from Perth on the west coast to Adelaide, then south to Melbourne and ferry to Tasmania!

He seems to have worked out every route and permutation on earth.  Last one: The weekly Nile steamer links Aswan inEgypt with Wadi Halfa in the Sudan, and then a weekly train will deliver you directly to Wadi Halfa with Khartoum. This page explains not only how to make the journey, but also what it’s like.

We are crazy about that Man in Seat 61 who, in real life, is one Mark Smith, an energetic Englishman and international railroad encyclopaedist who is not as mysterious as his moniker.

To know more, click (and save this site for a rainy day):   http://www.seat61.com/index.html.

Aaaall Aboard!


High Gear on the Silk Road

Here you go — the most exotic and exciting expedition on earth and surely a peak experience of two lifetimes. Drive the Silk Road from Venice to Beijing in a caravan of Land Rovers (fitted with GPS, maps, GMRS Radio Walkie-Talkies.) This is their sixth year. Operated by AAST only once a year, this year from April 7 to June 25, 2012 – a total of 80 days, 12 countries and almost 12,500 miles. The trip is divided into 3 sections and travellers can participate in one or more sections.

Brave hearts, start packing! And prepare for sensory overload as you shift gears through Venice, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China, through deserts, over mountains, on rivers … visiting bazaars, gardens, mosques, and meeting the locals inmany unspoiled places.

The “Silk Road” is not, by the way, one weird old legendary highway, but an extensive network of trade routes reaching across Asia into the Med, Africa and Europe and greatest thoroughfare in human history.

Should you happen to be a tad short of $38,231+ and the 80 days this entire trip requires, consider participating in one or two sections:

Section I – Venice and the Balkan Peninsula
Dates: April 7 – 27, 2012 (20 days)
Route: Italy – Slovenia – Croatia – Serbia – Bulgaria – Turkey
Per person, sharing: $8920

Section II – Turkey and the Caucasus
Dates: April 27 – May 22, 2012 (26 days)
Route: Turkey – Georgia – Armenia – Azerbaijan
Per person, sharing: $11366

Section III – Central Asia and China
Dates: May 20 – June 25, 2012 (37 days)
Route: Azerbaijan – Turkmenistan – Uzbekistan – Kyrgyzstan – China
Per person, sharing: $17945

Oops: There are a few extra expenses such as international airfares and visas, single supplements, mandatory travel insurance (no problem with that) plus $700 in cash when starting out.

Ms. Yue Chi, President of the Toronto-based outfitter AAST Inc. (Asia Adventures & Study Tours), just returned from a quickie drive from Munich to Beijing. This is the sixth year for this trip and they have specialized in unique cultural adventures to Asia since 1990. Committed to providing expert advice, planning and strong professional operations, each group is accompanied by a leader, chosen for his/her experience, personal qualities and passion for this style of travel.

Click: www.drivethesilkroad.com for maps, pix, and thrilling itinerary details.
Email: info@aast-journeys.com or phone: 1-866-564-1226.