Postcard from Doug: Watch a Soyuz Launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan (VIDEO)

Postcard from Doug: Watch a Soyuz Launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan (VIDEO)

Last year in May, I was fortunate enough to be at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to watch a phenomenal night launch of the manned Soyuz spacecraft. The rocket was floodlit, but still we could barely make out the towers as they fell away from the rocket. Then the fuel ignited like a huge bonfire and the sky lit up with billows of white smoke and steam, as the rocket lifted majestically away from the earth. I was able to capture the whole thing on video: Read More


Video Check-In: Meeting a Master Romanian Icon Painter

Video Check-In: Meeting a Master Romanian Icon Painter

MIR Tour Manager Michel Behar and his group of MIR travelers check in from the road from Romania, with a visit to a legendary icon painter and priest in Transylvania. It was one of many highlights on MIR's June tour, Bulgaria & Romania: Frescoes & Fortresses. Read More





Center Stage: Kazan’s Legendary Opera Star, Fyodor Shalyapin (VIDEOS)

Center Stage: Kazan’s Legendary Opera Star, Fyodor Shalyapin (VIDEOS)

A MIR traveler shares a video of a Trans-Siberian highlight: Kazan, Tatarstan, home to Russia' legendary opera star, Fyodor Shalyapin, with a concert from his repertoire. Famous for his portrayal of Boris in Mussorgsky's opera, "Boris Gudonov," Shalyapin also sang folk songs, including a 1902 recording of "Song of the Volga Boatmen" that skyrocketed him to fame, earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Read More



Master of the Toast in Georgia (VIDEO)

Master of the Toast in Georgia (VIDEO)

At a Georgian feast, the toasting doesn’t just stray into the emotional realm of family, friendship, honor, life and love – it marches directly in and sets up camp. The toast line-up always includes a toast to peace and fellowship, to the motherland, Georgia, and to lost loved ones. Here, host John Wurdeman raises a toast to family at his Tbilisi restaurant. He begins by saying, “A stone that grows stronger with time is limerock…Cement decays over time, but limerock only becomes stronger.” Read More


A Traveler’s Tale: Ride the Rails at Siberia’s Lake Baikal (VIDEO)

A Traveler’s Tale: Ride the Rails at Siberia’s Lake Baikal (VIDEO)

A MIR passenger shoots video riding the rails of the Trans-Siberian Railway's Circumbaikal Route, as it rolls along the shoreline of Siberia's legendary Lake Baikal. For many train buffs, this scenic Circumbaikal leg is a childhood dream: a rock-n-roll ride of rails, 33 tunnels and more than 200 bridges and viaducts. Read More