Mike’s Travels

Mike’s European Adventure Part 5

We were warned that Finland was a much more expensive country than Russia and it proved to be so in our short stay.  As we were entering the EU we would be using euros for the rest of our trip.  The service fee at the currency exchange office was high so it was lucky we had used up most of our roubles before we left St Petersburg.  Fortunately, we had booked a hotel directly across the road from Helsinki’s chief railway station so we were spared the cost of one taxi fare.

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Part 4: Moscow and St Petersburg

Moscow is an impressive modern city that appears quite prosperous.  The cars on the street are modern and the people are well dressed, well groomed even if they seem to conform to the myth that Russians never smile.  (The full story is that Russians don’t smile much at strangers.). Moscow and St Petersburg have grown quickly since the end of Soviet times mainly because wages in these two cities are much higher than the

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Part 3: Irkutsk, Yekaterinburg, Kazan

We reached Irkutsk after spending three nights on the Trans Siberian Railway.  Irkutsk was the first large settlement we had seen in 5,000 kms of travel.  All we had seen out our cabin window were forests of birch trees, conifers, grasslands and swamps.  Irkutsk has an unfriendly climate.  It’s record minimum is just short of -50C.    The average minimum in January is -21.8C rising to an average maximum of -12.8C. 

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Part 2: Trans Siberian Railway

The Trans Siberian Railway, spanning the 9288 kms between Moscow and Vladivostok is one of the wonders of the industrialised world.  It was constructed between 1891 and 1917 by one group of oligarchs (Czars Alexander III and Nicholas II) and electrified under the authoritarian rule of Lenin and Stalin.  The task of surveying, clearing forests, earthworks, building bridges and laying tracks across such a vast expanse with an unfriendly climate and

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Insights into Russia, Finland and Estonia

Mike Reddy is a founding member of Woden Valley Community Council and is currently it’s Deputy Chair. In 2014 and 2015, whilst on self-funded overseas travel, Mike kept a travel diary published on the WVCC website highlighting observations on public transport, renewable energy, housing, and other issues of interest to the Council, those that attend our meetings and access its website.  This year, Mike and his wife Christine are travelling in

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Europe ’15 – Salina to Naples

Salina is the second largest of the Aeolian Islands with an area of 27 square kilometres. It is dominated by volcanic hills with very little flat land near the coast. Although Salina would seem to be an ideal site for solar and wind energy it is probably constrained by its World Heritage listing. Currently, like other islands in the group, it has a small diesel power station operated by Enel,

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Europe ’15 – Palermo to Salina

Palermo has 1.2 million people making it Sicily’s largest city and around as large as Zurich and Perth.  It is a massive port strategically located between Europe and Africa.  The infrastructure on the wharves is modern and imposing.
We were heading…

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