The Kyoto to Copenhagen journey


In November 2009 a team of environmental experts, NGOs and journalist has boarded the Trans Siberian Express in Vladivostok.

The trip is a key part of the Train to Copenhagen project and is organised by the Russian Railways (RZD http://eng.rzd.ru/). RZD planned different stops, at Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Novgorod and the team will end their journey in Moscow 10 days later. Each stop is giving the team the opportunity to meet the local environment authorities, experts and journalists, discover innovative railway technologies, and witness the impact of climate change on the Russian territories and meet.

From Moscow the team will join the “Climate Express” going to Copenhagen thereby linking the East and the West via the Trans Siberian Railway one of the key international corridors linking Asia and Europe.

They are actually bringing the rail message to Copenhagen. Indeed, on 5 November 2009, the UIC Asia Environment Conference took place in Kyoto, where the world’s first global agreement ever on climate change was agreed upon in 1997. In this symbolic place, the conference participants signed the ’Message from the Rail Sector to the COP15 - from Kyoto to Copenhagen’.

The symbolic journey from Kyoto to Copenhagen represents the passage to the next generation agreement on the future climate regime.

The train journey will demonstrate how railways are acting in the spirit of the Kyoto protocol and actively reducing the emissions from the transportation sector. Follow the adventures of the the travel team, their experiences and observations on the changes due to global warming on www.traintocopenhagen.org/The-Kyoto-to-Copenhagen-journey/

It is the action that counts

While digesting the disappointing outcome of the COP 15 in Copenhagen, some reflections pave their way to my key board.
The global leaders have not been able to agree on how we shall face the biggest threat to human kind in our time – how to combat climate change with a legal binding global agreement. They could not get their acts together for a theoretic framework on how to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, on how this framework should be followed up on by concrete emissions reduction (...)

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The Swiss high-level delegation for COP 15 arrived by train in Copenhagen Thursday morning

Thursday 17/12 morning the Swiss delegation for COP 15 arrived safely at the main station, Hovedbanegaarden, in Copenhagen.
80 people travelled together by train from Switzerland to Copenhagen, including the Swiss delegation arriving for the high-level segment of COP 15. The participants of the train were welcomed with breakfast at the station by the Danish Railways.
The journey had included meetings and conferences and obviously a good night of sleep because the participants seemed (...)

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Bringing Copenhagen to the people

Messages to the world leaders at COP 15 from people we met along the symbolic Kyoto to Copenhagen journey. Along our way from Kyoto to Copenhagen we collected messages from people we met to pass on to the decision makers at COP 15 in Copenhagen. We did this by speaking with people, filming street interviews and taking signatures on a UNEP petition.
You can watch some of the messages yourself in the video clips on this website.
This is a selection from some of the messages we gathered (...)

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The 7th story about love

Having arrived safely in Copenhagen and at the United Nations Climate Change conference, it is time to share the 7th story of love from the Trans-Siberian railways. It is about the love we share for our planet.
You might have wondered what the collecting love stories on the Trans-Siberian Railways line during the symbolic Kyoto – Copenhagen journey had to do with climate change. The answer is short – everything!
While collecting messages from people to the decision makers at COP 15 in (...)

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What kind of present will Copenhagen give the world this Christmas?

It was time to wrap up. Time to bring the days discussions to a formal conclusion - although there was still a couple of hours left before we arrived in Copenhagen. The panel was made up of Achim Steiner from UNEP, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux from UIC, Nicole Wilke from the German Ministry for the Environment and Jason Anderson, WWF International.
We heard how Copenhagen had to achieve new mechanisms for CO2 reduction, as well as setting high targets and agreeing how the transition to a low (...)

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Cartooning the climate express

It’s Tom’s job to capture the climate express in cartoons, diagrams and drawings. He’s part of a group called Bigger Picture who specialise in capturing events in graphic form - graphic recording - and today they are on the train.
I asked him how they manage to capture such complex ideas and so much activity.
Tom said, "We try to be as open as we can, to just observe. Sometimes we ask questions. I just asked Mr. Pepy (SNCF) and asked him about his vision - what he would ideally like - for (...)

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On the climate express - Brussels to Cologne

The conversation has started. Press conferences block the route from one end to the other. A journalist crouches speaking live to her radio station. I push my way through to meet one of my hero’s - Mark Smith - founder of the website - the man in seat 61. This website is a fantastic source of information for travelling by rail across Europe.
I asked Mark - an Englishman - why he set up the web-site. He said, "When I travel to Europe I always take the train. Eurostar will tell you how to (...)

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Conference on the Climate Express

The train is under way. We are welcomed by Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General and then it is straight into the first conference - Updating Climate Science.
Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele of IPPC, Achim Steiner form UNEP and James P. Leape from WWF international give quick summaries of the science and then the questions begin.
Soon the questions move beyond science into politics and policy. There is an intensity and purpose to the questions. Nobody is pulling in punches, but (...)

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Time travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway

During the 9288 km of the Trans Siberian Railways we travelled through several time zones from Vladivostok time to Moscow time - a time difference of seven hours. (Moscow again is two hours ahead of Paris and Copenhagen.)

So as we travelled towards Moscow, we slowly, but surely tuned into Moscow time, day by day, hour by hour.

Already from Vladivostok, all times for stops and meals onboard the Trans-Siberian Railway were given in Moscow time. (...)

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Photo moments with Ivan (Moments with cargo)

The Trans-Siberian railways’ technical capacity allow for transporting annually nearly 100 millions of tons of cargo. The line is shortly to become a major overland transport link between Europe and Asia.
The main freight cargo transported by rail in Russia today are gas, oil, coal, timber, machines and are parts of buildings.
Sometime during the 1980ties Russia set up the longest freight train ever in the world. It was 17 km long and it had four locomotives in front and two behind to (...)

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Photo moments with Ivan (Moments with people we passed by)

The Trans-Siberian railway is one of the main passenger routes in Russia. 87 cities are located along its route. The line crosses 13 regions, four territories, two republics, one autonomous region and one autonomous district of the Russian federation.
Here are some of the people we met along the route:

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Photo moments with Ivan (Stations we passed by)

The stations and the station buildings along the Trans-Siberian Railway line are worth the journey in themselves.
The stations along the Trans-Siberian are Vladivostok, Ussuriysk, Ruzhino, Vyazemskaya (Vyazemsky), Khabarovsk-1, Arkhara, Belogorsk, Skovorodino, Mogocha, Chernyshevsk-Zabaikalsky (Chernyshevsk), Karymskaya (Karymskoye), Chita-2, Petrovsky Zavod/Zabaikalsky, Petrovsk, Ulan-Ude, Slyudyanka-1, Irkutsk-Passenger, Zima, Nizhneudinsk, Taishet, Ilanskaya (Ilansky), Krasnoyarsk, (...)

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Keeping Russian Railways rolling

Photo story of our behind the scenes visits

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From Asia to Europe in less than a flash glimpse

The Trans-Siberian Railway is situated on two continents: Europe (0 to 1 777 km) and Asia 1 778 to 9 288 km).
We passed the pole marking the border between Asia and Europe along the Trans-Siberian Railway line on the 29th of November (about five pm local time, three pm Moscow time, and one pm Paris time). We waited long - staring into the dark - for the moment when we were leaving Asia and entering Europe. Luckily Ivan caught the big event with his camera - the tiny little less than a (...)

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Thank you RZD!

It is with mixed emotions we realise that the part of the symbolic Kyoto – Copenhagen journey taking place on the Trans-Siberian Railways is moving to an end. In addition to experiencing one of the most fabulous railway journeys in the world, we have enjoyed the best hospitality we could imagine.
We would like to give our warmest thanks to the staff onboard, our Russian colleagues in our team and all the colleagues and representatives from the Russian Railways who have hosted our excursions (...)

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Love story 6

A young soldier had just finished his military service and was on his way home. In his compartment there was a young woman, also on her way home. But the young man was too shy to talk with her. He was not able to say one single word to her. The only thing he could do was to admire her lovely eyes.
However, during one night in the compartment he was finally able to tell her about the feelings he was developing for her and to declare his love. He told that he was falling in love with her and (...)

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Secrets of life on the train - part 1

What is it like to live in a moving hotel / carriage? Watch and see...

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WWF China and WWF Russian cooperation

Sometime during the first hours of the journey, our mobiles phones received messages welcoming us to China. A reminder of how close we are to another gigantic country, a totally different world. Moving along the border of Russian and China gives you a sense of being very small, but at the same time, of being present in the world.
Our new friends in WWF Vladivostok explained how they are working with their sister WWF organisation in China. They work to protect the same forest, the same (...)

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Overview of the Trans-Siberian journey - seven first days

Dear Reader,
Thank you very much for reading this! We hope you find it interesting to follow us during our journey from Kyoto to Copenhagen, and especially now on the Trans-Siberian Railways. To help you keep an overview of our journey, we here give you a quick overview of what we have done during the first seven days thanks to the Russian Railways. You can see more details posted elsewhere on our website. 21 Nov (Day 1): Leaving Vladivostok
Distance to go: 9288 km
Temperature: -12 (...)

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Love story 5

The romance or love in this story might be left for discussion. Here it comes: A man took his wife to the Vladivostok station to see her off for the Tran-Siberian railway line all the way to Moscow. She was crying because she would not see her husband for six and a half days.
But after the train had left her tears quickly dried and she started to flirt. She spent the time on board flirting, and the staff on board suspected she did not sleep too often in her own compartment.
At the end of (...)

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Love story 4

A young military pilot was on the Trans-Siberian from Moscow on his way back from holidays. In the train he met a beautiful young girl. They were in the same coach, but in different compartments.
He started looking at her by using a window as a mirror. He then moved one window closer, and another one. She started to join him at the windows and together they watched the landscapes passing by. The staff on board watched two beautiful young people falling in love.
At one station he got out (...)

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Ludmilla has joined the team

Profile: Ludmila Khorosheva, UNEP Moscow
Ludmila works for the UNEP in Moscow administering Global Environmental Facility (GEF)* funding. She has worked in the environment sector since university, working first for the Federal Government, next for the World Conservation Union, and since 2005 for the UN.
We were very glad to welcome a colleague from the UN so soon after celebrating UN day at Baikal. The UN provides the overarching structure for so many positive initiatives, from Human (...)

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Condolances from the Travel team

We in the Travel team would like to express our heart felt condolances with the families and friends of those affected of the accident on the train from Moscow to St Petersburg on the 27th of November.

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Happy birthday!

Dear Margrethe,
Happy birthday and best wishes from the UIC team in Paris! We wish you a very pleasant day and a nice party on the train. Carry on fighting climate change and making the case for rail!
See you on the ‘Climate Express’ on the 5th!
Best regards
Your colleagues in Paris

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Running Railways on Renewables

In an article called a Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030 published in Scientific American this November the authors show how wind, water and solar technologies can provide all of the world’s energy, eliminating all fossil fuels.
Railway companies use large quantities of energy. Some companies generate their own energy and almost all railways organisations have the power to influence their energy mix due to being major purchasers of energy. In some countries it is also possible to opt for a (...)

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Love story 3

15 years ago a woman was working at a station along the Trans Siberian railways. This was before everybody got mobile phones. So if you were to meet you had to note the train times and be there when the train arrived.
One day a man walked into her station. He was travelling the Trans-Siberian Railways and was looking around while the train was making a short stop. They started talking, and it turned out that he was travelling regularly with the Trans-Siberian Railways and that he was (...)

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Ludmilla, nine year old wins UNEP painting prize

"I painted one happy Planet and a sad one. I’d like to make the Planet happy, clean and kind and then people, who are living on it, would be happy too. If it’s dirty, the Planet is sad," she said.
Ludmila was one of the 2.4 million entrants to the 18th International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment.

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How Climate Change will effect Baikal

As you travel west on the Trans-Siberian railway from Ulan Ude the train runs down the bank of the Selenge, a river that feeds water from the heart of Mongolia into Lake Baikal. Mountains rise to the south, thrown up by the same tectonic plate movements that split the earth, giving rise to Lake Baikal.
And then all of a sudden you see a great expanse of grey water opening before you. In summer it can be blue, but for us, travelling in November, the lake and sky met in the middle distance (...)

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A day in the train from Ulan Ude to Baikal

We left our train, our cosy home, for an excursion along the shores of lake Baikal. We’re met by Denis and Arkady, local representatives of Russian Railways and our guide Marina. Our transport is a neat, new single coach train. It crawls out of Sludyanka station and soon we’re caught between the lake on our right and cliffs the rising on our left as we head north.
This was the original route of the Trans-Siberian but now its only a single track railway used for tourist excursions and the (...)

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Dear Travel Team,

The UIC team in Paris and I wish to pass on to you our warmest wishes – especially warm as it must be very cold in Siberia at present. We are following your fascinating, moving and informative stories with great interest, especially since we now know how difficult it is, even with the best equipment, for you to get your stories to Paris! We are also very happy to hear that you have once more become “one with the rhythm of the train”. The rhythm of the train has been very inspiring in many (...)

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The little train around Lake Baikal

We have made a stop and a break from our Trans-Siberian Railway coach for one day of sightseeing at Lake Baikal. The temperature is just minus two degrees – it feels positively spring-like!
Our single-coach train is brand new. Lace curtains grace the windows. TV screens at each end of the coach are linked to cameras mounted on the train so there is no excuse to miss any of the sites our guide brings to our attention.
The view on the monitors is accompanied by sounds from the nature outside (...)

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Excursion to the Lake Baikal - video

Watch scenes from the train journey from Ulan Ude in the morning to Lake Baikal
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF0XnD7UYPI

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Fresh or smoked fish for breakfast?

Fresh or smoked fish for breakfast?
After three days on the train our first chance for a serious change of diet.
Suddenly the view opens up and there on our right lies Lake Baikal. Today its waters are a deep steely grey and ice fringes the shore-line. To our left are the granite (basalt?) cliffs that had to be dynamited back in 1901 to cut a way through for the railway.
The lake conceals a massive rift created as one tectonic plate drifts north-west and the one we are on drifts (...)

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The travel team - Why are we here?

Roberto Laurenzi, Italian filmmaker and musician (under 50)
Before I want to see the real world. I want to meet other people and cultures. At the end of this experience I want to let the future generation know about my opinion of this time. Because Inthink there is no message for everyone because we are the message. Our lives and the way of our lives is a message.
In this way I want to break every barrier between me and other people and I think the best way to do this is to use the (...)

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Climate challenge to railways

The climate has always presented a challenge to railway builders, not least when the Trans-Siberian was being laid across East Russia. Copious amounts of dynamite was necessary to make an impression on land gripped by permafrost, and was used to create a bed for sleepers and rails.
Now the permafrost that provided such a firm foundation in the past is melting under the increasing temperatures of this - the coldest region of asia. Lines, bridges, buildings are all endangered as their (...)

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Accepting it

Accepting nature versus technology...
Our plan was to report regularly from our symbolic journey. As we are about eight hours ahead of our colleagues in Paris we even though we could provide them with daily updates freshly served up to them in the morning. We brought the necessary technical equipment, we thought, including a G3 mobile phone. But should we want to be completely connected to our daily lives while travelling through the remote reaches of the Trans-Siberian railways – even if (...)

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Love story 2

This love story is from this summer. It happened between two young people working onboard the Trans-Siberian railways, Vladimir and Olga. Olga was one of two young women working together for the train manager (who told us this tale but wished to remain anonymous). Both young women noticed Vladimir, the young mechanic on board. According to the train manager both girls walked around with sparkling eyes.
Vladimir chose Olga. But they were at work and they knew they were only to work together (...)

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Endlessness

The feeling you have when you wake up after the first night on the Trans-Siberian railways is endlessness - a good feeling of endlessness. It is like you have just get adjusted to a rhythm, a good rhythm, and you know this rhythm is going to last for a long time. In a life time, or even year, 8 days is not much at all. But today, thinking about the 8 days a head of us – in this rhythm, gives a good feeling of endlessness. I want this to last, I think. Another part of me asks, how long, and (...)

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Jellyfish sea

We visited a seafood market in Japan. There was a tremendous variety of products presented and packaged with incredible care. Much of this is caught in the Japanese sea by flotillas of ships fishing day and night in fleets of a hundred or more boats.
But this variety is under threat. We learnt in Japan that the sea of Japan has changed and now grows more and more jellyfish - jellyfish that fill the fishermen’s nets and damage fish stocks with their toxic sting.
We were not able to find (...)

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Love story 1

The first love story was given to us in Vladivostok, just before we departed. It is a dramatic story about love that ran away with the Trans-Siberian railway line many years ago in 1933.
A young boy and a girl fell in love. Her parents refused to accept him. To stop the love between the two young people from growing, her parents decided to help her to find the right man. To be sure their daughter played the part they had planned for her, her parents decided that she should get married to (...)

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Last Stand

Three quarters of the forest on the Pacific seaboard of Russia has been cut down in the last fifteen years. This was the stark figure we heard from Denis Smirnov* last night. Denis is head of the Forest Programme in this region of Russia, an area that encompasses the coast north to the Arctic, South to the Chinese border and West to the headwaters of the Amur river.
China’s burgeoning economy with its incessant hunger for resources is the final destination for the Russian forests. A hunger (...)

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Vladivostok – start of the world’s longest train ride!

We’re arrived from Japan. We are on dry land again, with our backs to the great, grey Pacific, at Vladivostok train station and facing west, the way home, for me at least, although for some of my travelling companions, the opposite is true.
We’re about to set out on the worlds longest rail ride, crossing a whole continent. We are going to be on a train for the best part of two weeks – with just the occasional day off for good behaviour.
In a matter of minutes we’ll leave behind the salty air (...)

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Learn more about Vladivostok

Vladivostok is built along the Muravyev peninsular which reaches south-west into the Sea of Japan. Vladivostok was founded in 1859 as Russia expanded its empire east to the Pacific. It is one of the few deep water ports on the east coast and remains unfrozen for all but around 72 days per year on average, less than any other Russian pacific port, one reason why it is the base for Russia’s Pacific Fleet.
The railway in Vladivostok was started on May 31st 1891 when Tsarevitch Nicholas laid (...)

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Interview with WWF

Smirnov from WWF Russia tells you more on forestry and climate change. Interview by Margrethe from Vladivostok!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30tzp_W6SkE

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Women only

What do you do if public transport gropers aren’t put off by jail or a fine?
One answer is to set aside women only coaches. Most of the train companies in Japan have labelled up a coach or two in every train for women only.
Any reduction on a factor that might put off a woman from travelling is crucial. In a world were men tend to drive and women and children often use public transport, access to problem free public transport is vital for a full quality of life, be it access to work, (...)

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Kyoto street interviews about Kyoto Protocol

Vox pop interviews in Kyoto where we asked people to send a message to Copenhagen and to sign the UN Seal the Deal petition.

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Love story of the day

We have been asked to report on the romance of rail travel and especially along the Transsiberian Railways. This we of course love (!) and during the journey from Vladivostok til Moscow we will therefore aim to publish a love story from each day.

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Kimonos in Kyoto

Wearing a Kimonon in Kyoto gives you free or highly reduced fares to public transport and tourist attractions.

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Kyoto City encourages tourists to reduce emissions by using train and public transport

Kyoto City encourages tourists to use train and public transport to stop the green house effect and to enjoy a nice time.

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View online : Kyoto Tourist Information.

Kyoto to Mexico?

As we start our journey we’ve learnt that the politicians have decided that there is not going to be a binding agreement (with targets) at Copenhagen.
Does this mean we have a new destination ahead instead of Copenhagen? Mexico in December 2010? But prepared as we are for our journey from Kyoto we don’t have the luggage for that journey so we strongly encourage the global leaders to rethink this decision!
Politicians are used to making compromises but you cannot compromise with Nature. (...)

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Profile: Margrethe Sagevik, Senior Advisor, Sustainable Development, UIC

Margrethe Sagevik, a Sustainable Development Advisor at UIC, is one of the fortunate individuals who are travelling from Kyoto to Copenhagen over the next two weeks by train.
Norwegian born Margrethe was one of the team that came up with the idea of a train journey to symbolically connect Kyoto and Copenhagen but she never expected to be one of the people actually making the journey.
“Travelling on the worlds longest rail journey has always been a dream for me”, said Margrethe, “however (...)

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