Exploring Russia’s Ice Trains with Zay Harding

Exploring Russia's Ice Trains with Zay Harding

It’s the second leg of our Tough Trains series – we’ve tackled Bolivia with Zay Harding, travelling from Brazil’s Pantanal to the Pacific coast of Chile bringing you snapshots from some of the most beautiful terrain in South America taking in the local Llamas, the majesty of the Andes and more.

Our next stop is Russia’s Ice Trains!

Russia’s trains travel along 85,500km of track, crossing 11 time zones.  In the cold and often brutal Russian winters, these trains persist against the freezing weather, travelling into Siberia and beyond.  We travel from the capital city of Moscow and head north to Stalin’s cruellest and most ambitious project – the Rail-Road of Death – before ending on the world’s most northern railway.  With average temperatures around -20/-30 degrees and ice at every turn, there’s nothing easy about Russian trains.

Check out Zay’s Globe Trekker photo diary taken on the road while filming Russia’s Ice Trains:

@globetrekker A quick stopover in #Moscow and I'm off to #Siberia. Should be there in 3 hours.

@globetrekker A quick stopover in #Moscow and I’m off to #Siberia. Should be there in 3 hours.

 

Looking over Russia's famous Trans-Siberian Railway, the longest train line in the world! #globetrekker #TSR #tyumen #siberia #russia #prettyamazing

Looking over Russia’s famous Trans-Siberian Railway, the longest train line in the world! #globetrekker #TSR #tyumen #siberia #russia #prettyamazing

 

Simple shot from out my window. I feel like I'm in an #AnselAdams picture. #GloriousDay #tyumen #siberia #russia #globetrekker

Simple shot from out my window. I feel like I’m in an #AnselAdams picture. #GloriousDay #tyumen #siberia #russia #globetrekker

 

Walkway up to the beautiful #TobolskKremlin and #StSophiaAssumptionCathedral #tobolsk #siberia #globetrekker #russia #friggincold

Walkway up to the beautiful #TobolskKremlin and #StSophiaAssumptionCathedral #tobolsk #siberia #globetrekker #russia #friggincold

 

 

@globetrekker #Tobolsk is the historical capital of #Siberia, built at the confluence of 2 rivers that stay frozen NINE months of the year! I saw MAC-TRUCKS driving across the ice today! #crazycold

@globetrekker #Tobolsk is the historical capital of #Siberia, built at the confluence of 2 rivers that stay frozen NINE months of the year! I saw MAC-TRUCKS driving across the ice today! #crazycold

 

 

Saw these cute homemade Siberian Cat dolls sitting in a cafe window. Almost thought they were real! #catsofinstagram #siberia #russia #craftycats

Saw these cute homemade Siberian Cat dolls sitting in a cafe window. Almost thought they were real! #catsofinstagram #siberia #russia #craftycats

 

It just started snowing! I swear I feel like I'm in a winter wonderland dream here!

It just started snowing! I swear I feel like I’m in a winter wonderland dream here!

 

@globetrekker With special permission, after a 26 hour train ride north into the Arctic, I have arrived at one of Russia's biggest gas fields. It is WAY colder than it looks here! #toughtrains #russia #crazycold

@globetrekker With special permission, after a 26 hour train ride north into the Arctic, I have arrived at one of Russia’s biggest gas fields. It is WAY colder than it looks here! #toughtrains #russia #crazycold

 

Back in the 1960's this was the very site that the first exploratory drilling hole struck an OCEAN of GAS!!! Still today, 90% of Russia's gas supply comes from this finding. #globetrekker #toughtrains #gasfields #russia

Back in the 1960’s this was the very site that the first exploratory drilling hole struck an OCEAN of GAS!!! Still today, 90% of Russia’s gas supply comes from this finding. #globetrekker #toughtrains #gasfields #russia

 

Snow plow trains run 24/7 so passenger trains such as this one can run regardless the extreme weather. BTW, it's -20 C (-4 F). No problem! #globetrekker #toughtrains #russia #crazycold

Snow plow trains run 24/7 so passenger trains such as this one can run regardless the extreme weather. BTW, it’s -20 C (-4 F). No problem! #globetrekker #toughtrains #russia #crazycold

 

Presenter Zay Harding and the AHU VAI URI

Presenter Zay Harding and the AHU VAI URI, Easter Island

The Easter Islands are the most remote inhabited islands in the world, and famed for its Moai stone sculptures, hewn out of rock by a mysterious lost civilisation.

What’s The History here?

Throughout the last few hundred years there’s been a great deal of speculation about the origins of the civilisation that built the enormous statues with which Easter Island has become synonymous. Some have noted the similarity between the Moai statues and Inca stonework, and have surmised that they were built by people of Peruvian descent. Others have even gone so far as to suggest that the Moai were built by extra-terrestrials. The most plausible hypothesis, however, is that Easter Island was discovered by a small group of Polynesians in about 400 AD, whose fledgling civilisation developed in complete isolation for over a thousand years. These early settlers called the island Te Pito O Te Henua or ‘Navel of The World’.

We also can’t be sure of why the inhabitants built the Moai. It may be that they were representations of deified ancestors, who where thought to watch over the living. What we do know is that a few centuries after settlement disaster struck the Easter Island community. Whether caused by a population explosion, ecological disaster or cultural revolution, the crisis reached desperate proportions and the Moai were destroyed by the islanders themselves.

On Easter Day 1722 the island was ‘discovered’ by Admiral Roggeveen, who named it Easter Island. When the Europeans arrived in 1750 they found a primitive people residing among the ruins of a once great civilisation. The native population dwindled further as a result of disease and slavery, which the westerners brought with them, but since Easter Island was annexed to Chile in 1888 it has enjoyed a period of recovery.

Archaeologists set about reconstructing the ruined Moai monuments and trying to learn more about the culture which made them. More than 900 Moai have been found, and the sites where they stand are known as known as Ahu.

Easter Island Rocks!

Presenter Zay Harding in RANO RARAKU - Easter Island

Globe Trekker presenter Zay Harding in RANO RARAKU – Easter Island