Photo of the Week: Lenin’s Pillars


Vladimir Lenin was born Vladimir Ulyanov. At 31, he changed his name to “Lenin,” most likely after the Lena River, a north-flowing river that crosses the Russian Far East and is used as a frozen highway in winter. The river’s most famous feature are the Leninski Stolbi (or Lenin Pillars), rock formations reached by boat a day’s ride from Yakutsk, a city of … Read on

Interview: Ian Frazier on Siberia

Ian Frazier spent about 17 years researching and writing ‘Travels in Siberia,’ about the same time Axl Rose took for ‘Chinese Democracy’ – but with better results. Frazier’s fascination for the forlorn and mythic, plus his humor, has always appealed to me. When I started as a Lonely Planet author, I picked put two destinations atop my author wish-list: the US Great Plains … Read on

Tribute: Ronnie James Dio on Travel

SIBERIAN INTERVIEW, 2005During my first crossing of Siberia, in 2005, I was smitten by the kindness of Russians on trains, the beauty of Lake Baikal and Kamchatka and — even more so — the flood of ‘Dio’ posters plastered on street signs in places like Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk. It left me to wonder, maybe heavy metal didn’t die when Kurt Cobain donned his … Read on

Non-Virtual Trans-Siberian

Did you hear you can ‘ride’ the Trans-Siberian Railway on Google? Last year a team spent 30 days on the six-day ride from Moscow to Vladivostok to roll a camera, during daylight, at a (sometimes maddening 25-degree angle) out the north-side window. Seven time zones worth. I wrote on Lonely Plant that it missed the real highlight: what happens on the train. But … Read on