The Trans-Siberian Railroad was built during Russia’s major (and relatively late) industrial boom at the turn of the last century. Today it stretches almost 10,000 kilometers and is the longest railroad in the world. Routes branch off to Ulaanbaatar, Beijing and Manchuria. The primary route however runs from Moscow to Vladivostok (on the Sea of Japan, just 20 miles from North Korea). The train takes 7 nights if you choose to do it all in one go, stopping at about 100 different Siberian cities and passing along the banks of Lake Baikal. I however plan on doing the Journey in about 17 days. Beginning in St. Petersburg and making stops in Moscow, Yasna Polnaya (Tolstoy’s birthplace) and recuperating in Vladivostok (a city closed to the American public for 70 years). I will have with me the texts of 6 authors as well as a deck of cards, a bottle (or two) of vodka and a pocket translation book. Although much of Siberia will be in bloom (think Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard) and sun will shine 21 hours a day, there are parts of the journey that will never venture about 4 or 5 degrees centigrade. Another complicating aspect is the time zones. Russia has 12 time zones, 10 of which I will be passing through. I imagine with passengers embarking and disembarking at every stop, it will be a symphony of adjusting. I will arrive in the Vladivostok Time Zone (UTC+10) on the wee hours of my 22nd birthday and perhaps will treat myself to some Wi-Fi and a long walk to stretch my legs, although I’ll stay diligent not to wander into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea… have you ever noticed that the more oppressive a regime is, the more positive adjectives there are in it’s name? Like the Content Not Hungry People’s Democratic Utopia of Sunny Korea. But I digress I truly believe each day of this journey will broaden my ability to dive deeply into the texts that have shown Russia to the world for the past two centuries. And by the end of a 7 day train ride, perhaps Ill even understand why the texts are all so sad.