By Bob Schulman
Here's your chance to take the world's longest ride on the rails – a whopping 6,000 miles. It's across Siberia, but it's no packed-in-like-sardines cattle car á la Doctor Zhivago.
The Russian tour experts at the MIR Corporation want you to know about a posh private train set to zip over the tracks between Moscow and Vladivostok. Much like a five-star hotel on wheels, the train combines modern amenities with the opulence of an old-time Russian palace, including spacious cabins with private bathrooms, Russian and European cuisine in the dining car and a comfy lounge car.
The 15-day eastbound run from Moscow – called “the Trans-Siberian Winter Wonder Land” – is slated for Feb. 23-March 9, 2014. The train then goes back to Moscow on the same itinerary, but in reverse.
"There's nothing like the Trans-Siberian railway in the winter," said MIR Corporation founder Douglas Grimes. "You'll spend a night in a five-star Moscow hotel and tour iconic Red Square and the Kremlin, and then board the distinctive world-class luxury private train, the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express.”
After Posadka zakanchivayetsya (“All aboard”) at the Moscow train station you'll be off on a journey across seven time zones. Along the way you'll visit the famous snow-tipped onion dome churches in Suzdal, experience an authentic Russian banya (steam bath) at a forest resort and enjoy a Doctor Zhivago-ish sleigh ride through a snowy countryside.
In other highlights of the trip you'll wind along the majestic frozen shores of the UNESCO site at Lake Baikal and explore UlaanBaatar on the Mongolian steppe before you end up in the eastern seaside city of Vladivostok.
You'd expect that an adventure like this doesn't come cheap, and it doesn't. The tab runs from $15,495 per person to bunk down (double occupancy) in a “Silver Class” cabin to $18,995 pp to ride in “Gold Class” and up to $29,995 pp for a ultra luxurious “Imperial Class” suite. And you'll have to get to Russia and back on your own.
The Russian airline Aeroflot flies nonstop from New York-JFK to Moscow, where connecting flights continue to Vladivostok.
About MIR Corporation: The Seattle-based company has specialized in tours of Russia and neighboring countries since 1986. MIR's tour experts work closely with local affiliates in Western Russia, Siberia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. MIR has twice been named one of National Geographic Adventure's "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth."
More info: Details of the 15-day tour are provided on MIR's website (mircorp.com/tour_wintertsib.asp). You can request a free catalog of all of MIR's tours on another page of the site (mircorp.com/free_catalogMIR.asp).
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