Trip Around the World – The Plan

In planning our trip around the world, we wanted to make it something of an adventure.  That lead to our first decision: go around the world entirely by ground and sea transportation.  Not too many people actually make a continuous trip around the globe, and most who do, I suppose, use airplanes to jump over oceans or take one long ocean voyage.  Our choice is to use ships to cross the two great oceans, the Pacific and Atlantic, and use trains to cross North America, Asia and Europe.

The next decision was whether to travel eastward or westward.  Our choice was to follow the sun and travel westward.  This decision was partly arrived at given some constraints we had for our trip.  Holly wanted us to be back at home in Santa Barbara for Christmas.  We also wanted to leave as late in September as possible, so we weren’t away from home and our (grown) children for more time than was necessary.  Finally, the biggest constraint was the availability of passenger ships crossing the Pacific and Atlantic in the direction and time we needed them.

Because our cruise across the Atlantic ends on December 22nd in New York, we knew we didn’t have time to travel back across the U.S. by train to be back in Santa Barbara before Christmas. We decided therefore to start and end our trip at Penn Station in New York.

Our trip will unfold in six major segments:

1.  New York to Vancouver B.C. by train.  We will leave Penn Station in New York on September 6 and travel by train to Toronto.  We will travel via the Trans Canadian Railway.  We are taking the train straight through and unfortunately won’t have the opportunity to get out and explore Canada other than what we see from the window of the train.  The Trans Canadian Railway trip is 4 days and nights on the train.  See: http://www.seat61.com/Canada.htm#Canadian or http://www.viarail.ca/en/explore-our-destinations/trains/rockies-and-pacific/toronto-vancouver-canadian

2. Vancouver B.C. to Beijing, China.  We are taking the Princess Diamond – Alaska and Far East Grand Adventure Cruise.  This cruise does the typical Alaskan Cruise and then continues on through the international date line to Sapporo Japan, Vladivostok Russia, Busan South Korea and on to China, ending at Beijing.  See: http://www.princess.com/find/cruiseDetails.do?itinCode=VOA220&voyageCode=M327A&resType=C

3. Touring China.  We plan to spend three weeks touring China.  We will tour Beijing, Pingyao, Xian, Chongqing, Cruise the Yangtze River, Shanghai and then return to Beijing.

4. The Trans Mongolian/Trans Siberian Railroad to Moscow/St. Petersburg.  From Beijing we’ll take an overnight train to Ulaanbaatar – the capital of Mongolia.  We’ll spend a few days at a Ger Camp at the Terelj National Park in Mongolia.  Then we’ll travel by train on to Irkutsk in Russia where we’ll see Lake Baikal (the largest fresh water lake in the world) and stop at Listvyanka.  We’ll travel via the Trans Siberian Railroad on to Yekaterinburg, then Moscow, then St. Petersburg.  After visiting St. Petersburg we’ll travel back to Moscow where we’ll leave Russia and begin the next stage of our trip.  See: http://www.seat61.com/Trans-Siberian-moscow-beijing.htm#.Uf29CJPn_xM or although we didn’t book this trip, this is the site that started us planning our trip: http://www.trans-siberian.co.uk/C1866.html

5. Eastern & Western Europe.  Leaving Moscow, we’ll take an overnight trip to Kiev, Ukraine.  From Kiev, we’ll take another overnight train to Budapest, Hungary.  Then our trip proceeds from Budapest to Vienna, Vienna to Prague, Prague to Berlin, Berlin to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to London.

6. Cruise from England to New York.  We’ll return to New York on the Cunard line’s Queen Mary 2, departing South Hampton and arriving a week later in New York.  See: http://www.cunard.com/cruise-search/book-a-cruise/cruises/qm/323-m333-sou1-nyc1/   When the ship docks, we’ll proceed to Penn Station to “close the loop” and complete our trip.  After Penn Station, with our trip complete, we’ll return home to Santa Barbara.

Click on the map at the top of this post for an animation of the trip.  When Tripline opens in your browser, click the start button in the upper right corner to start the animation of the trip.

My plan is to post new blogs and pictures as the trip proceeds to keep friends and family up to date.  I hope you’ll follow our once in a lifetime adventure.

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