I’m Off — Around the World and Mostly by Train!

I’m leaving this morning on what will be almost a month-long trip that will literally take me around the world, most of it by train. Internet access en route permitting, I’ll do my best to post photos and brief accounts on my experiences along the way.

I’ll overnight tonight in Los Angeles, then leave the following evening for a long red-eye non-stop flight to London, arriving there Thursday afternoon. By happy coincidence, my niece and her husband will be in London and I’m meeting them that night for dinner.

The following evening, Friday, I will meet for drinks with two people from Railbookers, the firm that handled 95% of the reservations and ticketing for this odyssey and did an absolutely outstanding job in every respect. They will have all my tickets and other confirmations.

Early Saturday morning, I’ll be on the Eurostar to Brussels, comfortably seated in Seat 61, my personal tip-of-the-hat to Mark Smith, the man behind this terrific train travel web site. In Brussels, I’ll connect with another high-speed train to Cologne and from there to Berlin for a two-night stay.

Then it’s on to St. Petersburg and Moscow where I’ll join a group of folks taking a special train to Beijing by way of Irkutsk, Lake Baikal and Ulan Bator. Back on my own again in Beijing, I’ll take China’s newest high speed train south to Shanghai and fly home from there: Korean Airlines to Seoul and my favorite, Hawaiian Airlines, back home.

Finally, a brief commentary: The price of a first class seat on my flight from Los Angeles to London is $11,660 … one way. If the person in that seat is traveling on business, it’s a deductible expense, which means there will be no tax paid by the corporation on the income earned to pay for that ticket. Meanwhile, we’re about to cut benefits for retirees. See anything out of whack with this picture?