アフタヌーン・セミナー第28回 A 9,000km Train Journey across Russia on the Trans-Siberian

  • 2016.03.31 Thursday
  • 13:41
アフタヌーン・セミナーとは、サイマル・アカデミー受講生特典として実施している無料セミナーで、 “学んだ語学を活かす”ためのセミナーです。
趣味や芸術、旅行などをテーマにしたネイティブ講師によるスピーチや、通訳者・翻訳者によるスピーチが行われます。
スケジュールのご都合でアフタヌーン・セミナー当日参加できなかった受講生の皆様に、また、サイマル・アカデミーでのご受講をご検討いただいている皆様にも、担当講師より当日スピーチした内容やお伝えしきれなかった事などをご紹介します。

今回の記事は・・・
2016年3月6日に実施したEddie Colemanによるアフタヌーン・セミナーです。
アマチュアカメラマンでもあるEddieは、世界各国を旅しながら現地で出会った人々や、心に残った風景などを写真におさめていますカメラき
今回Eddieがご紹介したのは、シベリア鉄道の旅。美しい写真とともに旅行記をお楽しみください。

四葉のクローバー これまでのEddieの旅はこちらから!
 

A 9,000km Train Journey across Russia on the Trans-Siberian  
BY Eddie Coleman

I recently gave a seminar on my trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Here’s a blog about my experience. 
My first trip on the Trans-Siberian was in 2009 when I went from Beijing to the city of Irkutsk.  It was a fantastic experience and I couldn’t wait to do more!
This time I decided to go the full length from Vladivostok to St. Petersburg, a journey roughly 9,600km-long. If one was to stay on the train for the whole trip it would take 8 days!  I had some time and decided to take a month for my trip. 
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Trans-Siberian Map

Vladivostok is a striking city and I was immediately taken with the grand architecture in the older part of town; beautiful European-style banks, hotels and apartment blocks line the streets. The prominent train station is in a commanding position overlooking the harbour and the famous Russky Bridge. 
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European-style buildings line the streets of Vladivostok

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Looking across Vladivostok harbour towards Russky Bridge
 
After spending a few days wandering around, I headed north to Khabarovsk, 12 hours away.  Situated on the banks of the Amur River, it turned out to be a pleasant surprise and I was again impressed with the architecture.  I also came across a huge military parade marking the date when Germany invaded Russia in the Second World War. 
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The Transfiguration Cathedral in Khabarovsk

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On the platform about to leave Khabarovsk

From Khabarovsk I went on the longest section of my journey (55 hours) to Ulan Ude. The trains are comfortable and one has lots of time to take in the surrounding scenery.  I travelled 2nd Class in a 4-sleeper compartment and sometimes I had it to myself. The scenery along the Chinese border was really spectacular with wide open grasslands and plenty of rivers.
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Some spectacular scenery from the train

I wasn’t expecting much in Ulan Ude, although I knew that it had the largest ‘Lenin-head’ statue in Russia. It’s the capital of the Buryat Republic and I came across a summer folk festival which was a wonderful, colourful experience. 
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A colourful folk festival in Ulan Ude

Next stop was Lake Baikal where I’d been before, but this time I wanted to stay longer.  I managed to get some accommodation in a village on the edge of the lake and I stayed there for 4 days, walking, relaxing and taking in the serenity of the lake.  It’s the oldest lake in the world (25 + million years) and also the deepest (1600m). It holds 20% of the world’s fresh water, which is quite phenomenal.  Over 300 rivers flow into Lake Baikal, but only one flows out.  
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 Lake Baikal scene

After Lake Baikal I did some long train trips and my next stop was in the delightful university-city of Tomsk which has some stunning architecture and is famous for its wooden houses.  It’s relatively small, so it’s easy to walk around and the trams and trolley-buses are easy to use. 
From Tomsk I went on a 52-hour trip to Vladimir which is quite close to Moscow and used to be the capital of Russia centuries ago.  The main attraction in Vladimir is the Assumption Cathedral which dates back to 1158.  It’s in a dramatic location on the edge of a cliff overlooking a river and some plains. 
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 A wooden church in Tomsk

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The Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir

My final train trip was from Vladimir to St. Petersburg.  I’d heard a lot about how beautiful St. Petersburg was and some people say that it rivals Stockholm in its beauty.  It’s built on numerous islands so it’s connected by lots of bridges and the roads and canals are lined with wonderful European-style buildings. The magnificent 17th Century Winter Palace, also housing the Hermitage Museum, is well-worth a visit. 
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Canal scenes in St. Petersburg

After a brief 4-day stay I had to leave.  It was the end of a really fascinating trip and I vowed to go back again – hopefully sooner rather than later! 
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European-style architecture line the canals in St. Petersburg


Eddie Coleman:
Photojournalism was one of his majors while he was at university in Australia. He enjoys the combination of travelling and photography. He has been to various places around the world.

アフタヌーン・セミナー 第24回 A trip from Sweden to Russia via Latvia

  • 2014.09.10 Wednesday
  • 10:36

アフタヌーン・セミナーとは、サイマル・アカデミー受講生特典として実施している無料セミナーで、“学んだ語学を活かす”ためのセミナーです。

趣味や芸術、旅行などをテーマにしたネイティブ講師によるスピーチや、通訳者/翻訳者による『通訳者/翻訳者への道』といったスピーチが行われます。

スケジュールのご都合でアフタヌーン・セミナー当日に参加できなかった受講生の皆様に、
またサイマル・アカデミーでのご受講をご検討いただいている皆様にも、担当講師が当日スピーチした内容やお伝えしきれなかった事をご紹介します。


今回の記事は・・・
2014年8月18日に実施したEddie Colemanによるアフタヌーン・セミナーです。

旅好きであり、アマチュアカメラマンでもあるEddieは旅先での心に残った風景や人々を写真におさめながら世界中を旅しています。

そんなEddieが今回訪れたのは、フィンランドからラトビアを経由してモスクワまで。
近年旅行先としてもとても人気がある北欧、東欧エリア。美しい写真とともに旅行記をお楽しみください。


A sojourn to Stockholm

BY Eddie Coleman

A few years ago I went on a 10-day trip to Finland and Estonia and I was so impressed with that part of the world that I couldn’t wait to go back. This time I went on a slightly different journey to Sweden, Latvia and then onwards to Russia.
Thanks to modern technology when I got into Stockholm I knew more-or-less in which direction to go to find my hotel, or rather boatel as I’d booked a room on an old ship. It didn’t take me long to find and it turned out to be in an ideal location as it was docked just five hundred metres from Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s charming old town.

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Stockholm harbour

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In the old town of Gamla Stan

Stockholm is built on fourteen islands and connected by fifty-seven bridges and there’s subsequently a huge amount of boat-traffic traversing its waterways. I went on a Canals & Bridges cruise which was really fascinating as it took you through a canal-lock connecting Stockholm harbour to nearby Lake Malaren which is a mere 80cm above sea-level.

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Stockholm skyline

Stockholm is situated in an archipelago of some thirty-thousand islands! My second cruise was for 90 minutes to the town of Vaxholm in the Inner Archipelago. The cruise passes islets with elegant homes nestled in clumps of conifer trees, while manicured lawns lead down to little boat-houses and colourful yachts bobbing in the water nearby – one idyllic scene after another!

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One of the islands in the archipelago

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Arriving in Vaxholm

After a few days, it was time for me to leave on an overnight ferry to Riga which took 17 hours. Riga was an absolute delight and also steeped in history with a beautiful historic old town. It’s a lot smaller than Stockholm and it’s easy to see the main sights on foot. On one of the days I went on a 3-hour walking tour which was really interesting. The late mid-summer sunlight also made it possible to walk around until about 10.30 pm before it got dark which was a real treat for me.

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Riga at sunset

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Old Town Riga

From Riga I went on a 15-hour train journey to Moscow which was much easier than I thought it would be. Moscow itself is huge and getting around on the vast Metro system is quite challenging as there are very few names displayed in the stations and the announcements themselves aren’t very clear. 
Every day while I was in Moscow I gravitated towards Red Square and the majestic St. Basil’s Cathedral which was a visual feast in itself. This was the highlight of my trip as I’d been dreaming of seeing that building for decades – I certainly wasn’t disappointed!
My 2-week trip went by far too quickly but it certainly left me feeling that I’d like to go back for more…

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A cruise along the Moscow River       St. Basil’s Cathedral


Eddie Coleman:
Photojournalism was one of his majors while he was at university in Australia. He enjoys the combination of travelling and photography. He has been to various places around the world.

アフタヌーン・セミナー 第19回 A photographic taste of South Africa

  • 2012.11.20 Tuesday
  • 10:44
アフタヌーン・セミナーとは、サイマル・アカデミー受講生特典として実施している無料セミナーで、 “学んだ語学を活かす”ためのセミナーです。

趣味や芸術、旅行などをテーマにしたネイティブ講師によるスピーチや、通訳者/翻訳者による『通訳者/翻訳者への道』といったスピーチが行われます。

スケジュールのご都合でアフタヌーン・セミナーに当日参加できなかった受講生の皆様に、また、サイマル・アカデミーでのご受講をご検討いただいている皆様にも、担当講師より当日スピーチした内容やお伝えしきれなかった事などをご紹介します。

今回の記事は・・・
2012年11月8日に実施したEddie Colemanによる「A photographic taste of South Africa」のアフタヌーン・セミナーです。

Eddieはアマチュアカメラマンでもあり、世界各国を旅しながら現地で出会った人々や、心に残った風景などを写真にし、時には個展で発表をしています。
今回のセミナーで披露された写真は、地中海のリゾート地を彷彿するような美しい町並みのケープタウンや、フリーステートにあるゴールデンゲート国立公園壮大な景色など、彼の故郷南アフリカ。
参加者のみなさんは、南アフリカへの印象がガラッと変わるような写真に見入っていました。
ブログでご紹介できる写真はほんのわずかですが、是非お楽しみください楽しい


A photographic taste of South Africa 
BY Eddie Coleman

I recently gave a seminar on my last two trips I undertook to my home country of South Africa in March and September this year.  Here’s a blog about my experience. 

Given the vast distance and the related expense, I usually only manage to go back to South Africa once a year to visit my friends and family.  This year however, I was fortunate to be able to go back twice.  
South Africa often promotes itself abroad as A World in One Country and it’s easy to see why, given the diverse landscape and climate; a wet south and east region, an  extremely dry western region, coastal plains, a spine of mountains over 3000 m high and a high central plateau. 
In March this year I went on a little road trip from my province of KwaZulu-Natal to the neighbouring province of the Free State, primarily to go to the Golden Gate National Park.  The Free State is mainly on a high altitude plateau and the mountainous Golden Gate National Park encompasses a concentration of flat-topped sandstone formations.  The colours vary according to the time of day and towards the late afternoon one can experience lovely shades of pink and yellow as the sunlight brushes the sandstone.  It had been a particularly wet summer, so the surrounding grasslands were particularly verdant which added to the overall picture.  


We made our way to the delightful little village of Clarens situated on the edge of the national park.  Clarens is off the beaten track and has become a popular weekend getaway destination from the cities of Bloemfontein and Johannesburg, only three hours away.  It has a very laid-back feel about it and one can while away the time in galleries, souvenir shops and a museum or relax in one of the numerous restaurants around. 

I was born in the Free State so it was a real trip down memory lane going through the town of Harrismith on our way back to KwaZulu-Natal. 

I hadn’t been to Cape Town for many years and in September I attended a friend’s wedding.  One forgets how beautiful Cape Town is with its dramatic scenery dominated by the massif of Table Mountain.  The city clings to the side of the mountain and has a number of beautiful suburbs built on its slopes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  It’s not difficult to see why Cape Town ranks among the world’s most magnificent coastal cities along with Sydney, San Francisco and Vancouver to name just a few. 

I was staying with some family friends and on my first day there I was taken on a spectacular drive along False Bay (south east of Cape Town) to the delightful little village of Kalk Bay.  It’s a quaint little fishing village with a handful of souvenir and arts & crafts shops and restaurants, and despite the cold, blustery weather it was still a pleasant outing. 

The wedding I attended was on the slopes of Table Mountain overlooking the upmarket suburb of Camps Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.  It was really a grand occasion and luckily for the bridal couple and the guests the rain managed to hold off as it was largely an outdoor affair.  

The following day I went inland into the wine-growing region of Stellenbosch and onwards to Fransch-hoek.  This area was settled by the European Huguenot settlers a number of centuries ago and they left their wine-growing techniques and unique Cape-Dutch architecture.  The scenery is quite dramatic with beautiful vineyards nestled in the mountain valleys and quaint, thatched white buildings dotting the landscape.


On my return to Cape Town the following day, I decided to head up Table Mountain in the cable car as I’d never done that before.  Even though I had to wait for over an hour to buy a ticket, I wasn’t disappointed.  The ride up to the top is quite dramatic and the car itself revolves so one gets a 360 degree view of the sea and the city below and the mountain face above.  It was fortunately quite quick because it wasn’t doing my fear of heights any good!

At the top there are sweeping views of the whole peninsula and one can shop in the stone souvenir shop or get a bite to eat in the restaurant.    Despite the relatively steep R200 (¥2,000) fare there was a large number of tourists at the top and it’s easy to see how this has become one of South Africa’s top tourist attractions.

The following day I was flying back to Durban and I decided to catch a train to the town of Simon’s Town about an hour south of Cape Town.  The train itself leaves a lot to be desired but the views of the beaches and distant mountains easily make up for the lack of comfort.

On the way back I got off at Kalk Bay and walked to the seaside village of St. James.  It’s famed for its colourful wooden changing houses and offers some lovely picturesque beach scenes.

It was eventually time to head back to the airport and I left thinking that I wouldn’t leave my next visit to Cape Town so long – I promised myself I’d be back soon!

Eddie Coleman:
Photojournalism was one of his majors while he was at university in Australia. He enjoys the combination of travelling and photography. He has been to various places around the world.

アフタヌーン・セミナー 第18回 A 7-day trip to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia

  • 2012.08.31 Friday
  • 09:39
アフタヌーン・セミナーとは、サイマル・アカデミー受講生特典として実施している無料セミナーで、 “学んだ語学を活かす”ためのセミナーです。

趣味や芸術、旅行などをテーマにしたネイティブ講師によるスピーチや、通訳者/翻訳者による『通訳者/翻訳者への道』といったスピーチが行われます。

スケジュールのご都合でアフタヌーン・セミナーに当日参加できなかった受講生の皆様に、また、サイマル・アカデミーでのご受講をご検討いただいている皆様にも、担当講師より当日スピーチした内容やお伝えしきれなかった事などをご紹介します。

今回の記事は・・・
2012年8月24日に実施したEddie Colemanによる「A 7-day trip to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia」のアフタヌーン・セミナーです。

Eddieはアマチュアカメラマンでもあり、世界各国を旅しながら現地で出会った人々や、心に残った風景などを写真にし、時には個展で発表をしています。
今回彼が訪れたのはウランバトール〜ゴビ砂漠。約1,500キロの旅路で収めてきた写真を紹介してくれました。
参加者からは『エディと一緒に旅をしてるかのように感じました嬉しい』との声も。よくありがちなパッケージツアーとは全く違うEddieの旅は、とても新鮮で興味深い内容でした。さあ、Eddieの旅をお楽しみください!

Mongolia – A trip to the Gobi Desert 
BY Eddie Coleman

I recently gave a seminar on a trip I undertook to Mongolia in late June / early July. Here’s a blog about my experience. 

I first went to Mongolia a few years ago, but only spent a few days there which I felt wasn’t enough.  This time, I intended to spend a little more time and I wanted to get down to the Gobi Desert.  I’d always been fascinated with deserts ever since I spent some time in Africa’s Namib Desert many years ago and the Gobi has always appealed to me because of its remoteness.
I caught a slow train from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital. It took about thirty hours and was a wonderful way to see the countryside.
On arriving in Ulaanbaatar, I set about finding a tour to the Gobi.  After being quoted exorbitant prices, I went to the Golden Gobi Backpackers where I’d stayed before to see what they had to offer.  
My luck was in!  They had a 6-night, 7-day, 4 x 4 tour starting the following day.  I was to join a Finnish couple along with the driver and a guide who was also to be our cook.  It all sounded too good to be true.
We left Ulaanbaatar in a 3-week old Russian Yaz van.  It was a design dating back decades, and was austere, very rustic, and very uncomfortable!  Nevertheless, it was tough and reliable and that’s what we needed for the 1500 kilometer return trip! The roads in Mongolia leave much to be desired and a mere 20 minutes from the capital, you’re travelling on a dirt-track!

Every day had its surprises, whether it was the spectacular scenery or people and activities that we came across.  On the first day, the highlight was a herd of horses and a beautiful lake-setting.  It was like a postcard with the gold and white horses wading in the water.  Accommodation that night was with a wonderful family in their gers (the traditional round homes) surrounded by their goats and dogs.
 

On the second day, the landscape became noticeably more barren.  Here the highlight was the Yolyn Am Canyon which just seemed to appear out of the blue!  The cliff-faces were spectacular and the red, brown and yellow colours in the bright afternoon sun were amazing!  That night, we stayed in gers again, about 30 minutes from the canyon.  Not as comfortable as the previous night, but at least it was a roof!

On the third day we stopped in the city of Dalanzadgad to stock up on essentials.  This was also the site of our only shower on the trip!  It was well-worth it!  
We then headed for the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains and National Park.  Here, the driver dropped us and we walked for 3 hours through a valley and he met us on the other side.  The scenery was spectacular but the main highlight was walking through a couple of glaciers.  The ice was at times 3 meters thick and lovely hues of blue.  One can only experience this in early July, so we were extremely lucky!  That night we camped in our tents for the first time which was a nice alternative to the gers. 

On the fourth day we headed further south-west to the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park and the sand-dunes of Khongoryn Els. The scenery changed as we got closer to the dunes, and we finally stopped at our hosts with their camel farm and ger-complex near the dunes.  It was a spectacular place for a farm.   After arriving, we had some fermented camels’ milk and then were shown our camels for the ride to the dunes.  The ride took about 40 minutes (each way) and was surprisingly comfortable.  The dunes were incredible, made even more so by the dark grey clouds of an approaching thunder storm. We spent about an hour just strolling up and down the dunes experiencing the fine, white sand. 
 

That evening we played basket-ball with some of the kids before we watched the sunset from the goat-pens.  
The next day saw us heading out to the dunes again before heading north in the direction of Ulaanbaatar.  The highlight of our day was our lunch stop (horse-meat stew for the fourth day running!) against a fantastic backdrop of Bayanzag or the Flaming Cliffs.  Vast sandstone cliffs rise up from the plains and their bright orange color was accentuated by the dark-grey clouds of a thunderstorm in the distance.  That night we stayed in a village with the driver’s family.

Day number six saw us heading towards the mountains where we had lunch on our first day.  Highlight here was the locals we came across practicing for the following week’s Naadam Festival.  It was fascinating and we watched for a couple of hours as they paraded their horses around and the kids wrestled each other.  It culminated in a 10 kilometer race with the kids on their tough little ponies.  It was quite incredible!  That night was another night of camping in a most beautiful setting. 

The seventh day was spent heading back to Ulaanbaatar.  We were all quite ready to get back to some home comforts, particularly a shower! It had been a wonderful trip and watching the world go by at a slow pace is in my opinion a great way to unwind and replenish the batteries! 


Eddie Coleman:
Photojournalism was one of his majors while he was at university in Australia. He enjoys the combination of travelling and photography. He has been to various places around the world.

アフタヌーン・セミナー 第14回(番外編) Finland and Estonia-Part3

  • 2012.02.01 Wednesday
  • 09:49
アフタヌーン・セミナーとは、サイマル・アカデミー受講生特典として実施している無料セミナーで、 “学んだ語学を活かす”ためのセミナーです。

趣味や芸術、旅行などをテーマにしたネイティブ講師によるスピーチや、通訳者/翻訳者による『通訳者/翻訳者への道』といったスピーチが行われます。

スケジュールのご都合でアフタヌーン・セミナーに当日参加できなかった受講生の皆様に、また、サイマル・アカデミーでのご受講をご検討いただいている皆様にも、担当講師より当日スピーチした内容やお伝えしきれなかった事などをご紹介します。

今回の記事は・・・

2011年11月28日に実施したEddie Colemanによる「A Taste of Northern Europe 〜Finland and Estonia〜」のアフタヌーン・セミナーで時間の関係で紹介が出来なかった、旅の続きです。

Part 1、2をまだ読んでいない方は、是非先にPart 1、2をお読みください。
旗 アフタヌーン・セミナー 第14回 Finland and Estonia-Part1
旗 アフタヌーン・セミナー 第14回 Finland and Estonia-Part2


Finland and Estonia – a taste of Northern Europe
BY Eddie Coleman

Part 3: Finland – the Lake District

This is the third part of my trip to northern Europe which I covered in a recent seminar.  

My plan on returning to Finland from Estonia was to head out to the Lake District, which I did the following day.  The Finnish Lakeland, as it's sometimes called, is the largest in Europe, dwarfing other well-known lake areas such as those in Scotland and England.  Finland is incredibly flat and one only has to look at a map to see that a vast expanse of the country is covered in water.  There are about 180,000 lakes in total, covering an area greater than 1 km² – an amazing figure!

I'd spent hours on the internet trying to find a little summer cottage (mökki) for rent, but being August in Finland when the majority of the people are in the countryside, this proved quite difficult to arrange.  I set off anyway, to the little town of Lahti, about and hour and a half north east from Helsinki on the southern tip of Lake Vesijärvi.  I made my way to the Tourist Information Office and tried to find out whether the mökki I'd earmarked was available as I hadn't been able to get hold of them.  I was told that it had unfortunately closed down.  There was very little else available so I settled for a room in a guest-house in the town, run by an American-Finn from New York and I decided to do little day trips from this base.

The next day, I boarded the Suomen Neito along with about 25 other tourists for a 4-hour, 25€ cruise up Lake Vesijärvi to Heinola on Lake Päijänne.   The weather was a little overcast to start off but it slowly cleared and yielded a beautiful landscape of little forested islands dotted with summer houses.  A lot of the properties had their own jetties with little boats at the bottom of their gardens – such idyllic, peaceful settings.  The boat cruised slowly up Lake Vesijärvi and into the Vääksy Canal which links it to Lake Päijänne via a system of locks.  The whole multi-level lock process was fascinating and kept everyone on board quite entertained.  
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After 4 hours, we arrived in Heinola where everyone got off.  I then strolled around the picturesque little town before catching a bus back to Lahti, fully satisfied with my relaxing day on the lakes!
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The following day, I decided to go to the island of Enonsaari in the middle of Lake Vesijärvi by water-taxi, a boat that did a regular round-trip from Lahti, to Enonsaari and the little village of Messilä.   I was the only one on board the boat and after it dropped me on the remote little island, I had my doubts that it would come back at the said time of 4pm to fetch me… I had visions of missing my flight back to Tokyo the next day!
 
I spent four or five hours just wandering around the beautiful surroundings and all-told, I only came across five other people – absolute bliss..... At one stage, I tried to hike up a slope into the centre of the island, but it was incredibly overgrown and I had to retrace my steps.  
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My water-taxi fears were allayed when, at the allotted time, it arrived to pick me up for my trip back to Lahti via Messilä.  It had been a wonderful excursion filled with peace and quiet, solitude and general tranquillity. 

The next day I headed back to Japan after my trip, convinced of the fact that if one wants a tranquil getaway, in pristine surroundings then there's no need to look further afield than the Finnish Lake District - it's perfect!


Eddie Coleman:
Photojournalism was one of his majors while he was at university in Australia. He enjoys the combination of travelling and photography. He has been to various places around the world.

アフタヌーン・セミナー 第14回 Finland and Estonia-Part1

  • 2011.12.19 Monday
  • 13:46
アフタヌーン・セミナーとは、サイマル・アカデミー受講生特典として実施している無料セミナーで、 “学んだ語学を活かす”ためのセミナーです。
趣味や芸術、旅行などをテーマにしたネイティブ講師によるスピーチや、通訳者/翻訳者による『通訳者/翻訳者への道』といったスピーチが行われます。

スケジュールのご都合でアフタヌーン・セミナーに当日参加できなかった受講生の皆様に、また、サイマル・アカデミーでのご受講をご検討いただいている皆様にも、担当講師より当日スピーチした内容やお伝えしきれなかった事などをご紹介します。

今回の記事は・・・

2011年11月28日に実施したEddie Colemanによる「A Taste of Northern Europe 〜Finland and Estonia〜」のアフタヌーン・セミナーです。

旅行と写真が大好きなEddieが今年の夏に旅したフィンランドとエストニアの魅力について、沢山の写真を交えて話してくれました。
今回のセミナーは、2週間の北ヨーロッパ旅行を、Eddieが撮影した沢山の写真を通して、自分が旅をしている様な感覚で楽しむことができる内容でした。ヨーロッパに行った事がない方がほとんどでしたが、皆さんEddieの素晴らしい写真と、街の歴史や特徴の説明など、とても興味深そうに聞いていました。特にEddieは建築物に興味があるそうで、様々な綺麗で歴史のある建築物を写真で紹介してくれました。旅行好きにはたまらない素晴らしいセミナーになりました!


Finland and Estonia – a taste of Northern Europe
BY Eddie Coleman

Part 1: Helsinki, Finland

In November, I held a seminar on a recent trip that I did to northern Europe.  Every July and August, I curse the humidity here in Tokyo, and long to be able to get away.  When I heard that I was able to take some leave in August, I quickly got on to my airline and arranged for a return trip on Finnair to Helsinki - It was certainly one of the better things I’ve done recently!

Flying from Tokyo to Helsinki is actually a lot shorter than one thinks.  It’s a day-time flight and takes about 9 hours with 90 % of the journey being in Russian air-space.  You leave at about 11 am, and with the time-difference, you arrive in Helsinki at a respectable 3.30.  
On arrival, the weather in Helsinki was superb – mostly clear, with a few puffy clouds in the sky and it was a temperate 25 degrees, but most importantly, it was dry!

After catching the airport bus and being off-loaded right outside my hotel, I dumped my bags and set off for a stroll to enjoy the early evening.  Apart from the UK, I hadn’t been in Europe itself for over 10 years, and was in due for a much-needed fix!  I had been to Finland before, when I was in my mid-twenties, but the circumstances then were completely different.  I was hitch-hiking around Scandinavia and had entered Finland from Norway through one of its north-western borders.  My budget then was a mere £3 a day!  Fortunately in those days, camping was allowed anywhere that wasn’t fenced off, so accommodation had been mostly free.  This time was to be different – I wasn’t going to be camping and I was certainly on a better budget!

One thing that strikes you on entering Helsinki city-centre is the beauty of the buildings.  Near the waterfront, the skyline is dominated by two cathedrals; the Lutheran Cathedral built in the early 1800s and the Eastern Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral, built in the mid 1800s; both are spectacular.  
Helsinki has numerous outlying islands and on one of the days, I took a day-trip to the fortress-island of Suomenlinna. The weather was again superb and I spent the day walking around the island and looking at the old fortresses.  People everywhere were lapping up the sunshine, making full use of some of the beaches and parks. 
像.JPG
ポート.JPG

I had planned to go from Helsinki to the Estonian capital of Tallinn, and the day before I left, I went on a day-trip to the town of Porvoo, about ninety minutes by bus from Helsinki.  It's a picturesque little place on the banks of the Porvoo River and played a major role on the supply route in times of Russian / Swedish conflict in the 18th century. The 15th century cathedral made partially of wood stands prominently in the centre of Porvoo's bustling old town.  Here you'll find little cobbled lanes, quaint restaurants and lots of boutiques selling all kinds of Finnish goods.  After strolling around in the bright sunshine and relaxing by the river for the better part of the day, I headed back to Helsinki to prepare for my trip the next day to Tallinn. 

早送り Continue to Part 2

Eddie Coleman:
Photojournalism was one of his majors while he was at university in Australia. He enjoys the combination of travelling and photography. He has been to various places around the world.

アフタヌーン・セミナー 第14回 Finland and Estonia-Part2

  • 2011.12.19 Monday
  • 13:18
Finland and Estonia – a taste of Northern Europe
BY Eddie Coleman

Part 2: Tallinn, Estonia
早送り Part 1: Helsinki, Finland

Due south, across the Gulf of Finland from Helsinki, lies the city of Tallinn in Estonia.  In the summer months, numerous ferries ply the short eighty kilometers and I managed to squeeze on to a bright red catamaran for the two hour journey.  Now that Estonia is also part of the EU, there are no more immigration formalities on arrival in Tallinn, so it was a pain-free entry into the country.  Not so painless was finding my hotel that I'd booked on the net which I eventually found a little way out of Tallinn in the area of Pirita, the site of the yachting events for the 1980 Moscow Olympics. 

My priority for visiting Tallinn, was to see the old-town which was built in the 13th to 16th centuries.  On my first evening, I ventured down to see it – a wonderful mixture of mediaeval towers, gates and Gothic buildings.  It was truly spectacular in that late evening northern European light and just wandering through those narrow cobbled streets revealed a delightful architectural experience around every corner. It was like being in a fairy-tale and miraculously it had all remained relatively intact through numerous conflicts including two World Wars! 

I spent three days in Tallinn, much of it just ambling through the old town appreciating the architecture and the timeless feeling of being in a different century.   This is Tallinn's appeal; that time-old ambience it offers amidst incredible surroundings. Some of the buildings were just absolutely amazing, with my favourite being the late 18th century Alexander Nevsky Cathedral with its ornate arches and multi-spired roof.  Right near the cathedral is the country's striking pink parliament building, itself an architectural gem.  The old town has a distinct mediaeval feel highlighted by the tall fortress gates which are dotted around, and in places entrepreneurs have set up targets so that one can test their archery skills for a small fee. 
ピンク.JPG

In the centre of the old town is Town Hall Square, which is an open cobbled expanse surrounded by terraced merchant buildings, dominated by the town hall itself.  Here on the periphery of the square are a whole lot of alfresco-style cafes where one can nibble on Estonian fare and enjoy the proceedings around them.  I settled for a simple dish of Estonian herring, yellow potatoes, red onion and black olives, washed down with some traditional A. le Coq Estonian beer – it was superb!
木.JPG

In the square the one day, I came across a traditional Estonian festival which featured men dancing with sticks and women in elaborate traditional costumes including really intricate head-gear.  After one of the dances, everybody just broke out in song - it turns out that singing is a favorite Estonian pastime and the 30,000-seater singing stadium in a more modern part of the city is testament to that!

On my last day in the city, I climbed up to the roof of St. Olav's church which in its heyday in the 16th century was the tallest building in the world! It's a two hundred-step climb, but well worth it and from the top one is rewarded with a fantastic aerial vista of the old town.  This was a great way to finish off my sight-seeing venture before heading back on the ferry to Helsinki the next day.  After having spent a few days here, I was truly convinced that charming Tallinn was a wise choice for the 2011 European Capital of Culture!  

Eddie Coleman:
Photojournalism was one of his majors while he was at university in Australia. He enjoys the combination of travelling and photography. He has been to various places around the world.

アフタヌーン・セミナー 第3回 A train journey from China to Russia and Mongolia Part1

  • 2010.02.09 Tuesday
  • 10:14
アフタヌーン・セミナーとは、サイマル・アカデミー受講生特典として実施している無料セミナーで、 “学んだ語学を活かす”ためのセミナーです。

趣味や芸術、旅行などをテーマにし講師によるスピーチが行われます。

スケジュールのご都合でアフタヌーン・セミナー当日参加できなかった受講生の皆様に、また、サイマル・アカデミーでのご受講をご検討いただいている皆様にも、担当講師より当日スピーチした内容やお伝えしきれなかった事などをご紹介します。

今回の記事は・・・

2009年11月16日、12月13日に実施したEddie Colemanによる「A train journey from China to Russia and Mongolia」のアフタヌーン・セミナーです。

アマチュアカメラマンでもあるEddieは世界各国を旅しながら、現地でであった人々や、心に残った風景などを写真に残し、時には個展も開いています。
そんなEddieが今回訪れたのは中国〜ロシア〜モンゴル。大陸での移動はなんと鉄道びっくりその長〜い道中で様々な写真を収めてきました。

セミナー当日は現地で見てきた事、感じたことや地理的な情報、その他ハプニングまで美しい写真と共にご紹介しました。
参加者からは『実際に旅をしている気分になりました』との声が。

今回のブログは長編になる為、3回に分けてお届けします!

A train journey from China to Russia and Mongolia
by Eddie Coleman.

Part One: China; Beijing to the Russian border

I’ve held a couple of seminars recently about a fascinating train journey that I experienced in September last year.  The trip took me from Beijing to Russia on the Trans-Manchurian train, which joins the Trans-Siberian line from Vladivostok.  I went as far as the Siberian city of Irkutsk, and the first part of the journey is covered here.  Later, I went from Irkutsk, south-east into Mongolia to Ulaan Bataar on the Trans-Mongolian train.

I needed to explain a fair amount of geography in order for students to fully understand the extent of my trip.  The Trans-Manchurian line skirts Mongolia to the east, and goes north-east to the city of Harbin, before going north-west to the Chinese / Russian border.
For a map, click on: http://www.sokoltours.com/popup.phtml?m=448

My trip started in Beijing where I had a few days to kill before the train left. I hadn’t been to Beijing for five years, and was pleasantly surprised at how clean it had become.  This could have been as a result of the city hosting the Olympics in 2008, or for the approaching sixtieth anniversary of communism celebrations, due to take place the following week.

Whilst there, among other places, I visited Tiananmen Square and the Olympic Park, incorporating the ‘Bird’s Nest’ stadium and the ‘Water Cube’ aqua centre; both fascinating sporting venues.  While both impressive structures in their own right, they are really spectacular when lit up at night.

I’ve always had a keen interest in communist propaganda, and I also managed to visit the Chinese Military Museum hoping to get a glimpse of some decent examples.  I wasn’t disappointed, and the museum itself was a captivating place, with exhibitions, artifacts and sculptures beautifully displayed over an expanse of four floors. I found the photographic exhibition particularly impressive, with hundreds of photos depicting military scenes and propaganda on display.

One of the most daunting parts of my trip was navigating my way through the enormous, bustling Beijing Train Station, on the Saturday night.  Once I’d found the platform, I was able to relax again, before getting onto the train.

The train itself was clean and quite comfortable, though a little austere, with no extra trappings.  I was fortunate enough to have a compartment to myself for the entire sixty-seven hour journey to Irkutsk.  Over the course of the journey, I befriended a Turkish couple travelling to Moscow and two Polish law-students heading home after a summer in south-east Asia.  We’d regularly meet up in the dining-car and shoot the breeze for a few hours at a time.

There’s something really soothing about a long train journey; the monotony; the rhythm; the timeless aspect of sitting watching the world-theatre whizz by, framed by a window.  In my book, it has to be one of the best ways of travelling.

Sunday was spent heading up north through Manchuria to Harbin and beyond.  We stopped for a few minutes at stations along the way - just long enough to buy some essentials from the platform vendors. Here, the scenery is all very similar, with acres of corn fields flanking the tracks, sometimes as far as the eye could see.  From Harbin, the track takes a north-westerly route, and heads for the modern border town of Manzhouli.  We arrived here in the early hours of Monday morning, and had to endure lengthy immigration and customs formalities before crossing over to the Russian town of Zaibalkarsk.

Next:  Part 2, the journey into Russia.

Eddie Coleman:
Photojournalism was one of his majors while he was at university in Australia. He enjoys the combination of travelling and photography. He has been to various places around the world.

アフタヌーン・セミナー 第3回 A train journey from China to Russia and Mongolia Part2

  • 2010.02.09 Tuesday
  • 10:13

A train journey from Russia to China and Mongolia
by Eddie Coleman

Part Two: Russia from the Chinese border

Because the gauges are different between China and Russia (said to be a defence precaution), the wheels had to be changed in Russia.  This meant that we had almost six hours to while away in this neglected, derelict frontier town.  We managed to find a restaurant in the basement of a block of flats, and had an enormous breakfast (with some mandatory shots of vodka!) before wandering around for a couple of hours and reuniting with the train.



About a hundred kilometres near the city of Chita, the Trans-Manchurian joins the Trans-Siberian line, connecting Moscow and Vladivostok.   Here, the scenery changes dramatically and includes vast forests of birch trees and an undulating countryside. Quaint, wooden Siberian settlements appear at regular intervals along the way.

A couple of hours after the city of Ulan Ude, the train nears Lake Baikal and hugs the shore for a few hours.  It’s a dramatic part of the journey featuring lovely vistas of the enormous lake, with the train at times only a few metres from the lake’s edge.  One gets a feel for the size of the lake, with its sea-like horizon stretching endlessly into the distance.   The weather was quite foul at the time and there were lots of white-horses, but it calmed down as soon as we left the lake and headed ‘inland’ towards Irkutsk.  We arrived there at dusk on Tuesday evening, nearly three days after setting off from Beijing.

Irkutsk was a nice surprise, and after a brief overnight stop in a travellers’ hostel, I headed to the little village of Listvyanka on Lake Baikal in a jam-packed mini-bus.  Listvyanka is only about seventy kilometres away from Irkutsk and is situated on the northern bank of the source of the Angara River, which originates in Lake Baikal.

I’d been meaning to go to Lake Baikal for the past twenty five years or so, and was pretty excited about being there.  It’s a phenomenal lake, and the statistics are extraordinary.  It’s incredibly deep (about 1600m in places) and is over six hundred kilometres long.  It contains roughly twenty percent of the world’s freshwater, holding more water than the North American Great Lakes, and the African lakes combined!  Over three hundred rivers flow into it and only one, the Angara flows out.

I spent a couple of  days in the delightful little village, mostly just wandering along the lake shore, and spending some time hiking above the lake and mulling around in the interesting markets there.  Quaint, brightly coloured Siberian cottages abound and really help add to the eclectic character of the village.  The fact that the trees were already changing colour, albeit only late September, enhanced the whole experience.

I returned to Irkutsk in the morning, to catch my night train to Ulaan Bataar, and was able to wander around the city for a good few hours.  In its hey-day, Irkutsk was known as the Paris of Siberia, and it’s not difficult to see why.  It’s still, however, a beautiful city sporting some truly graceful Russian Orthodox churches and cathedrals.  The main shopping street, Karl Marx Avenue features some lovely old stone structures.  Ancient wooden buildings, some in bad states of repair, can be seen dotted around the city as well.  These aren’t so plentiful these days because a couple of hundred years ago, a large portion of the city was destroyed by a fire, and has since been rebuilt.

The train station in Irkutsk was dimly lit, and it was really difficult to find the right carriage on the platform.  This time the journey was to be far more cramped than the first one, but fortunately it was only thirty-six hours and not sixty-seven!  I shared a compartment with a couple of Mongolian Mathematics professors and a Russian lawyer who worked in Ulaan Bataar.  I felt academically challenged amongst them!  Fortunately, the one professor could speak fluent English, so communication was made easy.
 
The train left at about 10.30pm, and it was an overnight trip to Ulan Ude, a few hundred kilometres away.  Here we made a brief stop and left the rest of the train, as we trundled towards the Mongolian border, with just our carriage and the engine.  The scenery changed as we got closer to the border, with wide valleys flanked by distant hills.  There were fewer trees now, and the train followed a river for a good few hours.
 
We stopped at a little frontier town for a few hours for more immigration formalities.  I hadn't registered with the authorities while in Russia, so was a bit apprehensive about this border crossing and thought there might be a problem, but there wasn't.  It's unclear why we stayed there so long, as the gauge between Russia and Mongolia is the same, and we didn't need to change wheels, as we had done before. 

Previous: Part 1, China; Beijing to the Russian border
Next: Part 3, The journey from Russia to Mongolia.

Eddie Coleman:
Photojournalism was one of his majors while he was at university in Australia. He enjoys the combination of travelling and photography. He has been to various places around the world.

アフタヌーン・セミナー 第3回 A train journey from China to Russia and Mongolia Part 3

  • 2010.02.09 Tuesday
  • 10:12
A train journey from Russia to China and Mongolia
by Eddie Coleman

Part Three: From the Russian border through Mongolia


Once on the way, we headed through some 'no-man's land' before reaching a Mongolian outpost.  Customs and immigration took place in the town of Sükhbaatar, about a half hour away, where we stayed for yet another couple of hours.  We picked up more carriages here and left on the overnight journey to Ulaan Bataar.

We arrived in Ulaan Bataar at about seven in the morning, and there was someone to meet me from the hostel I'd booked.  That was just as well, because stories of being ripped off by taxis and mugged near the station are all too plenty.  
 
After checking into the hostel, I spent the day wandering around the city.  It's one of the most desolate capital cities I've ever been to, and is in simultaneous development and decay.  It's incredibly polluted, having coal power stations right on its outskirts, and it also has the dubious distinction of having the largest temperature variations of any capital city in the world; + 35 degrees C in summer, and - 40 degrees in winter. 
 
The next day, I joined six other people from the hostel for a tour of the Mongolian countryside.  We crammed into a mini-bus and set off, but we'd barely left the city when we ran out of fuel!  The driver had to hitch a ride with a passing vehicle, and appeared forty minutes later with a little plastic container of diesel.  We couldn't work out why this had happened in the first place - it was an ominous start to the trip.
 
Once on our way again, we headed for the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park.  The scenery was spectacular and there were sweeping valleys and lots of low, jagged peaks.  On entering the park, we came across a pair of camel handlers with their double-humped, Bactrian camels.  We all managed to have a brief ride on them - the first time for me.  I found it surprisingly comfortable, although getting on and off was a tad tricky.

Inside the national park, we went to a ger complex and had a simple lunch of dried yak's yogurt, yak's butter and some sweet pastries, all washed down with sweet yak-milk tea. After that we were ushered onto some Mongolian ponies, and took off towards some distant hills.  I was the tallest in the group and couldn't quite figure out why I was given the smallest horse!  After about half an hour, we tethered our steeds near a bright orange temple gate, and took off on foot for a temple high up on the side of the hills. The view from the top was spectacular. 

After the ride back, we were again bundled into the mini-bus and whisked off across the Mongolian countryside, passing herds of yaks on the way.  It was good to see where our lunch had originated!   After about an hour of driving, the driver pointed at something shiny in the distance.  There, standing in the stark countryside was a statue of Chinggis Khaan which appeared to be on a building.  As we got closer, we could appreciate the sheer enormity of the structure.  It's the largest man-horse statue in the world, at forty metres.  The complex is still under construction, but a two-hundred ger hotel-complex is planned.   The statue itself was quite bizarre; an elevator goes up the horse's tail and it's possible to then walk up a flight of steps up the horse's mane and stand on a platform behind its ears!  This was just another aspect that made me feel that Mongolia was such an odd country.
 
After viewing the statue, as it was getting dark, we then drove off into the wilderness, witnessing a spectacular moon-rise on the way.  We drove for absolute ages, veering off the main roads onto less beaten tracks and at times we were driving on no roads at all!  Our final destination was to be a ger settlement, with a sole old lady as its inhabitant.  We were greeted with a hot meal and some warm, sweet yak tea after which we relaxed in the 'guest' ger over a card game and of  course, some Chinggis vodka!
 
The next morning revealed a fantastic vista - rolling, windswept hills dotted with sheep, goats and cattle and a few hardy trees.   We went on a hike for a few hours after breakfast.  The wind was howling and it was bitterly cold, although everyone was fairly well prepared with gloves, jackets, scarves and beanies.  

We headed back to the old lady for lunch, and then helped with some wood chopping and sawing to fuel her stove, and help add to her stockpile for the coming winter months.   It wasn't long after that a few of us had to think about going back to Ulaan Bataar.  We again got into the trusty mini-bus, and were driven back to the nearest town.  In daylight, it seemed miraculous that the driver had managed to find the ger, with barely a track in the grass visible.  I'd gained new respect for him after losing it when we initially ran out of fuel!
 
We were taken to a bus station, and put on a bus to Ulaan Bataar.  A truly wonderful experience, the Mongolian countryside.  As for Ulaan Bataar, it has its function as a hub, but one needs to get out of there as soon as possible to experience the true Mongolia.  A short, three hour flight had me back in Beijing where I'd begun just over two weeks earlier.  It was certainly amazing!  

Previous: Part 2, Russia from the Chinese border

Eddie Coleman:
Photojournalism was one of his majors while he was at university in Australia. He enjoys the combination of travelling and photography. He has been to various places around the world.

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