Our 2012 Travels - Around The World And Fun Closer to Home

Our 2012 travels took us on an around the world trip for the first time ever… we figured it was about time! That whole adventure took us on planes, trains, boats and cars.

There were weekend get-aways and trips to air shows close to home and across the continent.

We went to three new countries and one state we had never been to…

We were tickled with that because it means we've now been to all 50 states in the USA...

And 100 countries around the world….


Well, 100 countries if you count the USA where we live.

Guess that means we've visited 99 counties.

Rest assured that we'll get to one or two new countries next year, so we can say we've visited 100 countries.

OK… Let's get to the details of our 2012 travels…


MAY-JUNE: England, Russia, Mongolia, China

Our 2012 travels didn't really get going until almost mid-year because we had long, epic adventure planned.

Isle of Wight, England

Osborne House - Isle of Wight

First we flew east to London where we rented a car and drove to the Isle of Wight…

Well, we drove to Southampton where we explored some aviation history, and and took the ferry over.

We explored the island, including a visit to Osborne House, Queen Victoria's favorite hideaway.

Ferry arriving at East Cowes Isle of Wight
Shanklin Village in the Isle of Wight

And then we flew east to St. Petersburg for the "epic" part of this trip... And what was this adventure for our 2012 travels?

The Trans-Siberian Railway! - Russia, Mongolia and China

St. Petersburg

Winter Palace and Hemitage, St. Petersburg

We spend a couple of days exploring St. Petersburg...

The Winter Palace and the Hermitage...

The Neva River, the Peter and Paul Fortress...

The Church of the Savior on the Spilt Blood...

And just walking around the historic center.

Peter and Paul Fortress across the Neva River in St. Petersburg
One of St Petersburg's canals leads to the Church of the Savior on the Spilt Blood

After a couple of great days in St Petersburg, we boarded the Grand Express to Moscow. Not technically part of the Trans-Siberian, but we wanted to go coast to coast so to speak.

Boarding the Grand Express Train in St. Petersburg
Inside the Grand Express - grand hallway, eh?
Our Cabin on the Grand Express - Prepare to be cozy!

Moscow

The fun in Moscow included a visit to the Russian Air Force Museum and an evening at the opera... Boris Godunov performed at the Bolshoi. 

We also explored the Kremlin and revisited GUM Department store... wow, what a difference from 35 years ago!  Our friends at Moscow Insider’s Guide can give you tips on visiting Moscow.

St Basil's Cathedral on Red Square with Gums in the background
The Kremlin Walls next to Red Square Moscow
Tickets for the opera Boris Godunov at the Bolshoi

The traditional Trans-Siberian Railway journey starts in Moscow...

Waiting for the Trans-Siberian in Moscow

And the traditional route goes to Vladivostok in about 7 days.

We chose an alternative route that took us on the Trans-Mongolian section...

To Mongolia of course and into China.

Seven days on the train was too long all at one time... So we made stops along the way...

Yekaterinburg

First stop was Yekaterinburg to see where the last Czar and his family met their end. It is also just outside of Yekaterinburg that we crossed from Europe into Asia.

A monument marks where you cross from Europe into Asia outside of Yekaterinburg, Russia
Memorial churches have been build around the mine shaft where the Romanovs were killed.

We spent a couple of days at a time on the train... time enough to make friends and have fun... even if we couldn't speak Russian. Vlad here couldn't speak English, but we got on fine! And there were always parties in our cabin.

Making friends on the TransSiberian
Parties in our train cabin every day!

Irkutsk and Lake Baikal

Sunset over Lake Baikal, Russia

On to Irkutsk to see Lake Baikal. While it was interesting to see the "world's biggest fresh water lake"...,

...it was the party we crashed with a bunch of Russian Air Force pilots that was most memorable!

Sometimes you just have to seize the opportunity to make friends.


Mongolia!

Then it was on to Mongolia to sleep among yaks and camels in Terelj National Park and then to explore Ulaan Baator.

Our ger (yurt) in Terelj National Park Mongolia

Leaving Mongolia, at the Chinese border, the train had to "change the boogies"... the track size is different so we had to have a new set of wheels!

China

In Beijing we revisited all the historic sites and explored a new section (for us) of the Great Wall of China at Mutianyu. And to make the rail journey coast to coast and across two continents, we took one last leg on the Chinese high speed train to Shanghai.

Great Wall of China at Mutianyu
Loved to stroll on the Bund in Shanghai


JULY: Oshkosh, Wisconsin and The Netherlands

A field of Piper J3 Cubs in Oshkosh, WI

If you've ever been over to our other website
Antique-Airplanes.com, you'll see that we get to Oshkosh for the AirVenture every 2-3 years.

This year we only went for the Sunday morning mass arrival of Piper J3 Cubs. "Our" Cub didn't participate, but it was fun to see that field of yellow.

We took the rest of that vacation to visit the Netherlands. It was the Aviodrome Air Museum outside of Amsterdam that called us.

We also did a circle drive that took us to the Het Loo Palace, the Kroller-Muller Museum inside National Park de Hoge Veluwe, and the windmills at Kinderdijk. To top it off, we stayed at a manor house hotel that was a great alternative to an airport hotel.... something we advocate you should try.

Het Loo Palace, Apeldoorn, the Netherlands
Windmills at Kinderdijk, the Netherlands


SEPTEMBER: Arkansas, Virginia and California

Hot Springs National Park Headquarters building

Nothing had ever taken us to Arkansas before, but our 2012 travels did!

Now we've been to all 50 states.

We visited Little Rock and Hot Springs. Did you know that Hot Springs is a National Park?

It made us wonder why we had waited so long.


WWI planes at Military Aviation Museum Virginia Beach

We managed to incorporate a visit to Virginia Beach where we caught a great air show that featured World War I planes.

Most were replicas, but it was a great collection, nonetheless and great fun!

It’ll have a page on Antique-Airplanes.com some day.


Vintage Racers at Flabob Flying Circus California

More airplanes in our 2012 travels!

"Our" Cub went to Flabob for their first ever Flabob Flying Circus. How could we resist and airport with a name like Flabob?

While we were in the area, we went to Chino Airport to see what was new at Planes of Fame and Yanks Air Museum.


OCTOBER - Cyprus and Malta

In Cyprus, we rented a car and drove to several archeological sites from Larnaca to Paphos like the Sanctuary of Apollo here.

Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates (Ylatis) near the Kourion ruins


We also drove into the Troodos Mountains to see some of the painted churches.

Mark is so good driving a stick shift on the left... and usually narrow roads don't bother us too much, but getting into some of those villages was quite a challenge!


Mark finds Maltese Falcon Merlot in VallettaMalta

On Malta we stayed in Valletta. We joked about finding the Maltese Falcon, but along with sightseeing in the city, we found an elusive Maltese Falcon... Merlot that is.

The last couple of days we rented a car... driving on the left again... and visited ancient Neolithic temples Hagar Qim and Mnajdra.


Ggantija Temple complex on the island of Gozo a ferry ride away from Malta

The last couple of days we rented a car... driving on the left again... and visited ancient Neolithic temples Hagar Qim and Mnajdra.

Then we went across the island and caught a ferry to Gozo Island where we visited the Ggantija temple complex...


It is supposed to be one of the oldest free standing, man made monuments in the world... dating from 5000 BC. Older that the Pyramids and Stonehenge!

Plans for 2013?

For past adventures see our previous missives: 2011 Travels, 2010 Travels, 2008 Travels, and our 2007 Retrospective.

We haven't come up with firm travel plans for next year... we've barely recovered from our 2012 travels! But with the new year, we'll be anxious to get on the road again... and remember, we will be looking for at least one new country to visit. Feel free to offer suggestions. We love to read your comments. We try to mention new pages on our Facebook page, so "like" us if you want to see where we end up going.

Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it! Judy and Mark

Curious about what else we've written about?  Search our site for a destination or travel tip.


Protected by Copyscape Online Copyright Infringement Tool

But... We'd love to have you share this page or comment on it…
Thanks, Judy and Mark

Go from 2012 Travels to Home Page

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Did it help with your travel planning and preparation? Eager to leave on that next vacation? Please leave your tips or comments in the box below.

Ready For A New Adventure?

We escape by traveling…
But there are more ways to escape. 
Work on something you LOVE…
With A Website
SBI Teaches You Everything

First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life

Timely Tips

Spring is here in the Northern Hemisphere...
The almonds and mustard are blooming
The grapes will soon bud out

California Spring - Grapes, Almonds and mustard

It's Fall in the Southern Hemisphere
Great time for an
Australian Wine Tasting Drive.

It's a great time to travel almost anywhere in the world!


DreamTrips can get you traveling sooner and cheaper that you thought possible

Are you planning your travels?
The weather can be changeable, so be sure to pack layers and some rain gear...

See all of our Packing Lists and Tips.

We're busy planning our travels
The Central Asian Silk Road should be an adventrure!

Where Do You Want To Go?
Things to See in Europe
Travel In America
Does Africa Call?

Don't just dream about it...
Start making plans!

Custom Tour Planning List
International Travel Planning Tips
Foreign Is Fun - Not Scary!

Check Your Passport
Do you have yours? Is it up to date?
Get Your Passports and Visas

Search

Search MouseToursTravels
Travel questions or destination info?
Find our answers faster..
.

Translate

We want you to feel comfortable out in the world and on our pages - so surf away in your own language...

Updated Tips & New Travel Stories

  1. Acceptable Identification Document For Travel - What Qualifies?

    When you go through airports, you need an acceptable identification document, so what qualifies?

    Read More

  2. 2016 Travels - International and Domestic Adventures

    Our 2016 travels took us on domestic and international adventures… to look for culture, wildlife and antique airplanes.

    Read More

  3. Trusted Traveler Programs and TSA PreCheck for U.S. Citizens

    U.S. government Trusted Traveler Programs... designed to get some travelers through customs faster. TSA Pre-Check gets you through security faster. What they are and where to get info.

    Read More