Those of you who have been travelling will know that it is in no way a holiday and in fact a lot of the time travelling is uncomfortable, frustrating, difficult, there are language barriers, culture differences and dirt, and sometimes you wonder what the Hell you’re doing. BUT you also know that the discomfort is more than made up for by the things you see, places you visit and people you meet.

Here’s the rough and the smooth of this trip so far…


The Rough – Greasy, cold, who-knows-how-long-its-been-sitting-there, dishes described as containing “meat” (what is that? Dog? Rat? No one seems to know), hangovers of the type suffered in Riga, and don’t get me started on the kitchens……

The Smooth – A million new dishes to try, some of them have been super tasty particularly palmeni, blinis and shashliks. And cake. The world does really good cake.


The Rough – hard beds, lumpy pillows, dubious stains, sleep deprivation due to all manner of reasons: snoring dorm-mates, uncomfortable overnight buses, workmen painting crossings at 1 in the morning, trains that arrive at 2.30am, dogs barking all night…

The Smooth – waking up somewhere new and exciting, sometimes to amazing views like these or this. Now and again we even get to hear the sea :o)


The Rough – Lugging it around! It doesn’t fit in the train baggage storage areas. 15kg of kit feel like 50kg after 500m. Comments about how much we have – it’s exhausting repeating to everyone that we don’t really have more than everyone else, one of our bags is just bigger.

The Smooth – What we have with us is a good proportion of everything we own and we need it!


The Rough – Need a haircut – Hairdresser doesn’t speak English – Errrr NO. Need Painkillers – Pharmacist doesn’t speak English – lots of sign language and pointing. Train travel – toilets gross, water cold, towel they give you the size of a flannel – Solution = Baby wipes!

The Smooth – No / Minimum / different stress. We both generally feel more healthy, my hair is good, skin clear, shoulders free of tension.


People are Rough and Smooth all at once – even the annoying, loud, “I know better than you” types can teach you something, even if just how not to annoy everyone around you! Generally those we’ve met have been amazing, fun, friendly and clever. The best of the bunch are described in this post