No matter how well we prepare for a trip, we are bound to run into problems and obstacles when we are traveling. It can be anything from getting lost to being pick pocketed. How we approach the situation when these misfortunes happen to us makes our journey very different.
To me, the worst nightmare is losing my passport or missing a flight. Thank goodness that has never happened to me (Knock on wood). There were a few times when I was close to missing my connecting flight and once where I have gotten on the wrong train to the airport and didn’t realized it until thirty minutes later because I was so captivated by the scenic view. At the end, everything turned out okay.
My friend and I encounter our first disappointment in Siberia. Even after our 75-hour train ride from Moscow to Irkutsk, we still decided to make a trip to Listvyanka via the Circum- Baikal Railway, which includes taking a two hour mini-van to a town called Slyudyanka to catch the train for another five hours before hopping on a 15 minute ferry, to get there. This route takes 7 to 8 hours.
We could have simply caught a local bus and get to the lake town in less than one hour. But how can we miss this picturesque route along the world’s deepest Lake Baikal?
However, when we finally made it to Syludyanka railway station, the attendant told us that the train no longer runs on Wednesdays! When did they change that!? Why Wednesday? Why not Monday or Thursday? After all the effort we made to get ourselves to this town, only to find out that our plan is going down the drain. As much as I want the lady to tell me that she was only joking, it is something that can’t be changed. There is nothing we can do but to backtrack to where we came from and go with option 2.
Should we have researched on it at a more reliable website instead of the travel forums and blogs? But there was no official site for this specific route, just information provided by people who had done it before.
Anyway, I was prepared for these kind of surprises and I learned to accept the fact. I can choose to whine and be upset or I can just take it as an experience.
Even though we had no luck with the scenic train ride, something nice did happen though. On our ride to Slyudyanka, we met a young Siberian girl named Jenny, who took out time to be our interpreter and guided us to the ticket office.
And when we were told that the next two mini-vans back to the city were full and we had to wait another two hours, the driver for the next scheduled bus who saw that we were troubled, squeezed us in. Running into these kind-hearted people along the way makes a bad day a better one.
Does everything need to go smoothly to make a trip a wonderful one? Not necessarily.