RTE President Joe Clarke– Moscow to Beijing

President Joe hardly needs an introduction. He’s a good Alberta guy who’s made an incredible contribution to our club.
Joe, along with his wife Cathy, and fellow RTE member, Lois, recently returned from a trip that had them take a train from Moscow to to Beijing. This incredible trip was filled with beautiful sights and friendly people. Joe’s presentation included of slide show of many beautiful pictures, and samples of local music.
The trip started with 3 days in Moscow. The city is beautiful and fascinating. There is incredible wealth, but also many poor people. There are more churches per capita than any where else in the world and the architecture was wonderful. The Moscow subway system was like no other. Each station was impeccably clean, and decorated with fine art.
From Moscow, they boarded a train and travelled 820km to Kazan. On the way they passed several small villages with older primitive buildings and large gardens. Kazan was originally founded by Muslims and it shows in the architecture and mosques.  There were also many Russian Orthodox churches, which were elaborately decorated with gold leaf and art.
From Kazan, they traveled 996km to the city of Yekaterinburg, the gateway to Siberia. This city borders on Europe and Asia. With the help of a local guide, they explored the city. It was modern and very busy.
The next leg of the journey was 1,487km to Novosibirsk, the third largest city in Russia.  This city has preserved many of its original wooden buildings. The tour included a trip to the local market where they saw an impressive selection of food from around the world.
Following the Inya River, once famous for its sturgeon, they travelled 762 kms to Krasnoyarsk, where they had a walking tour and learned the correct way to drink vodka (there were lots of toasts!).
Next, was 1,188kms to Irkutsk were they visited with Dr. Vladimir Donskoy, the co-founder of Rotary in the former Soviet Union.  He has been a Rotarian since 1990 and is a club past president, secretary and many other roles.  Vladmir is a good friend of RTE and assists with arranging student visits to Canada.
The tour then moved on to Ulan-Ude (456kms). On the way, the train made a stop to allow passengers to visit the deepest lake in the world, Baikal Lake. A brave few (including Cathy) took a short swim in the 9 degree water.
The trip continued on to Mongolia, and then to Beijing, where they spend the final three days of their trip exploring the city.  It was an amazing trip.