photos by DAVID GILKEY
The Trans-Siberian railroad -- from Moscow to Vladivostok -- covers nearly 6,000 miles and spans seven time zones. Riding nonstop, the journey takes six days, though our NPR team took two weeks, with some stops along the way.
Either way, this is one of the world's longest train trips. And along the route, the train passes through one of the world's largest forests -- the Russian taiga -- and kisses the shoreline of the world's largest freshwater lake, Lake Baikal.
It's a journey that provides a true sense of the vastness of Russia, a country of about 140 million people that straddles two continents and reaches from Eastern Europe to the Pacific Ocean.
Our gear included all sorts of recorders, microphones, high-end digital cameras and an iPhone 4. Initially, the iPhone was mainly for the quick snap, uploaded to family and friends back home. But it soon became a necessary reporting tool. As NPR photographer David Gilkey discovered, Russians still tend to view cameras with suspicion, even though the Soviet Union collapsed two decades ago. A cellphone, however, proved to be far less threatening.
The iPhone was up to the task and produced some of the most striking images from this timeless journey across Russia.