When I was twenty-one, I set off from Moscow to Nahodka, near Vladivostok, on the Trans-Siberian Railway. I was headed for a job in Hong Kong. It was August 1968.

A thought started in my head last year that it would be rather fun to complete the circuit so to speak when I was 71, half-a-century later. That is, to travel from China by train through central Asia - Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan - to Russia. Once that seed was there, it just grew like the giant beanstalk.

I leave for my latest adventure in August 2018 and when I get to Moscow, I will stay in the Metropol Hotel from where I started all that time ago, young and well-heeled. The room price suggests the Metropol Moscow is a tad removed from its Soviet incarnation when it shared the gloom that blanked the city.  The art nouveau-style hotel has had a facelift and become quite wealthy.  I on the other hand .... Oh well, we will eye each other up - life is just a cycle after all.

And I will write about it.