"The landscape looked like the moon."
This is how traveler Joe Russo described the breathtaking landscape he saw from the train he and his wife Kait took on the world's highest railway from Xining in China to Lhasa in Tibet, which is 5,067 meters high.
It's a unique journey – so high that oxygen is pumped into the car to alleviate the effects of altitude sickness – and the YouTube video released by the Russians, documenting their experience with it, has garnered over 870,000 views.
Scroll down to see the video of the Russians
Joe and Kait Russo filmed a trip along the world's tallest railroad in Tibet – but the first railroad line was a high-speed train from Beijing. This still from her video shows Kait searching for her seats
Kait Russo, in the picture, describes the business class section for high-speed trains as "so chic".
The Joe pictured was extremely impressed with the Beijing high-speed train. "The train was extremely smooth and we had a very pleasant trip during this stage," he told MailOnline Travel
This still from the Russians' YouTube video shows the food served on the high-speed train that was included in the ticket price
The Russian railroad adventure covered a distance of around 2,250 miles from the Chinese capital to the high Lhasa
Joe from Los Angeles and Kait from Beijing boarded the train in Xining, but their train journey started in Beijing – and that's where the video begins.
It shows the couple checking into the business lounge and then boarding a 300 km / h high-speed train to Lanzhou, eight hours and 900 miles away.
They had business class tickets, which meant they were lying flat.
Joe told MailOnline Travel: & # 39; We decided to upgrade to Business Class for this stage of the trip and were very happy that we did. We started early in the morning, so it was nice to have seats that lay back to relax and take a nap on the way. The train was extremely smooth and we had a very pleasant trip during this stage. Drinks, snacks and a meal were also included in our ticket. & # 39;
Xining Station, where Joe and Kait boarded a train to Lhasa, about 1,200 miles away
Joe in his four-bed dorm during the 20-hour trip from Xining to Lhasa
After this stage was a ride on another high-speed train – to Xining, 150 miles away.
Joe continued, “After a one-hour break in Lanzhou, we boarded another high-speed train to Xining. This stage lasted two and a half hours and while we were not in business class, the first class seats were also very comfortable.
“No food was served on this stage of the journey, but hot water is always available on the trains in China, so that many passengers on the train immediately bring noodle soups to the meal.
“It was very interesting to see the Chinese landscape, but what really surprised us was that not many small rural towns could be seen along the way, but apartment-style skyscrapers dominated the landscape. It was incredible to see because there were dozens of identical buildings in some places – and many of these "cities" seemed empty. & # 39;
Joe said that he suffered from altitude sickness on the train to Lhasa, which rolls over a huge plateau with an average height of 4,000 m (13,123 feet).
Out of this world: The landscape on the trip to Tibet was like a moonscape, said Joe
Joe said, "During the night we could feel the effects of the elevation as the train climbed across various passes. You could also hear the oxygen pumping into the wagons.
Next came the "tallest railroad" from Xining to Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, at an altitude of 3,656 m (11,994 ft), 1,200 miles away.
And here Joe noticed a change in demography.
He said: “When we arrived in Xining, the demographics changed quite a bit and I was surprised that there were very few other Westerners. The station is quite large, so we had the opportunity to walk around and stretch our legs, which was very nice because the next leg of the trip to Lhasa would take a little over 20 hours. & # 39;
The journey is astonishingly high: the train travels through Tanggula Station, which is the tallest station in the world at 16,640 feet, the Fenghuoshan Tunnel, which is the tallest tunnel in the world at 16,093 feet above sea level along a huge tunnel Plateau, which is 4,000 m high on average.
The train to Lhasa travels through Tanggula Station – the tallest station in the world at 16,640 feet – and the Fenghuoshan Tunnel, which is the tallest rail tunnel in the world at 16,093 feet above sea level
The train ride was part of an eight-day trip to Tibet in 2018, which included a visit to the Everest tourist base camp on the Chinese side
Joe said, "The snow gave way to the grassy plains where we saw nomads driving yaks."
According to the Russians, passengers can suffer from it.
Joe explains on the video that he has an altitude sickness of over five thousand or six thousand feet and that during the trip he "felt pressure in his nasal passages and passed out for a few hours" and started getting "really bad" headaches.
He added: “During the night we could feel the effects of the elevation as the train climbed across various passes. They could also hear the oxygen being pumped into the wagons at various times during the journey to help passengers fight altitude sickness. & # 39;
The sanitary facilities on the train were a mixture of Chinese (picture) and western style
The critical travel articles of RUSSOS
“We always have a water cleaning bottle with us so we can fill up anywhere and don't have to worry about finding or buying bottled water. Toilet paper is a must as we've encountered many facilities that don't provide (or are no longer available) toilet paper on our trips. Finally a good roll bag and hand luggage size backpacks. We travel very easily, so we always have a shared trolley and everyone has a backpack. This setup works regardless of whether we're on a week-long adventure or a month-long trip. & # 39;
When the Russians woke up, their jaws fell.
Joe said, "When we boarded the night train from Xining, it was late, so we went straight to our bedroom – each compartment had four beds – and crawled into bed as soon as the train left the station.
“It was too dark to see the landscape and we were exhausted after the day's journey.
In the morning we woke up in a landscape that looked like the moon. It was covered in snow and looked completely deserted. We were impressed throughout the day when we watched the landscape change from one type of landscape to another.
The snow gave way to the grassy plains where we saw yaks driven by the nomads. At different times during the trip, pre-recorded messages (in English and Chinese) were played over the speakers to provide interesting information about what we could see out of the windows.
& # 39; There is also an asphalt road that follows the railroad, which is mainly driven by large trucks that transport cargo to Lhasa.
“While most of the landscape was covered by snow or grass, we drove through small towns at different times. For most of the trip, our eyes were on the landscape outside. & # 39;
The train stopped briefly at various stations, but the doors were never opened to allow passengers to stretch their legs, which Joe said was a little surprise.
Lhasa station (3,656 m), the last station for the digital nomads Joe and Kait Russo
The train stopped briefly at various stations, but the doors were never opened to allow passengers to stretch their legs, which Joe said was a little surprise
THE NEXT & # 39; HIGHEST RAILWAY & # 39; …
The Indian railway line Bilaspur-Manali-Leh will reach a height of 5,359 meters after its completion in 2022.
He was also surprised by the "well-stocked dining car", which had "a good selection of Chinese dishes on the menu".
Fresh vegetables were also grown in pots and cut to order for each dish.
"We enjoyed all the dishes, especially the vegetable pans," said Joe.
The train ride was part of an eight-day trip to Tibet in 2018, which included a visit to the Everest tourist base camp on the Chinese side.
And it came three years after the Russians adopted a "digital nomad" lifestyle and launched their "We are the Russians" brand.
Tanggula – a breathtaking station in several ways. This picture was taken by Bharat Vohra and posted on Flickr
Joe has written two books about his RV lifestyle
Joe said, “In 2015, we decided to leave our entrepreneurial career behind, sell our house and many of our belongings, so that we could spend the whole day in a motorhome with our two dogs.
“It should be a year-long adventure with an end date and it is planned to go back to work and settle down again.
& # 39; However, we quickly adjusted to the freedom and flexibility of lifestyle and decided to continue indefinitely.
“Since we only saved enough money to travel for a year, we had to find a way to make a living while traveling. At this point, we started our own content creation company that published videos for our YouTube channel, articles for our website, and two books.
“The first book, Take Risks, documents everything we went through from idea to journey, and the second book, Tales From the Open Road, describes our first year and a half on the road.
"By sharing our journey and experiences, we hope to inspire others to live the life they want."
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Travel (t) Escape (t) China