In the fall of 2008, I flew to Moscow. I didn't know what to expect, and was surprised to find myself in such a romantic city. Grey skies hovered overhead, and I caught myself humming a Gershwin tune.
It was the first stop on the seven-day Trans-Siberian/Mongolian train to Beijing, a journey I took two weeks to complete. Travelling east along the same latitude, the golden plains and fall foliage of Russia thrust a monotonous beauty through the window.
This is part one of the trip to Beijing: Moscow to Irkutsk (with a trip to St. Petersburg).