………..50 hours on the Trans-Siberian Express
19.08.2014 - 21.08.2014 24 °C
So there I was at 4am entering car No.7 looking for berth No.5, easy enough to find but as 1st class cabins are restricted to two people I thought it a good idea to knock before I crashed through the door so early in the morning. A good thing I did as the smiling face of my compartment buddy asked for a minute to rearrange; not a problem. I entered and introduced myself to the lovely Elena a lady who was on her way to Vladivostok to visit her daughter and grandson. Elena had been inspired a year ago through her step daughter to learn English and with only a year of study she was doing remarkably well…..it was so much better than my Russian and she was only too pleased to be able to practise. It wasn’t long before it was lights out and with that wonderful sound that only a train can make I fell off to sleep living the dream……...:-)
Awoke around 10.30am pretty happy with myself, cleaned up and went to the dining car for brekkie, coffee and just watch Russia go by. The train could be Swiss as stops and departures are to the minute. All times are expressed in Moscow time so it’s handy to have your phone on roaming to ensure you have the right time where you are. Let’s not forget there are eleven time zones in Russia. The day was so relaxing and floated between writing, reading, sleeping and great conversation with my new Roomie. We discussed everything from family, life, current affairs, life in Russia and Down Under and concluded the day with a couple of beers over dinner in the dining car. Another positive about Russia, the girls drink beer, whether that is because of an absence of anything else I’m not sure but it’s easy with the biggest choice being whether you want a can or a bottle!! Elena is from Vladivostok and when she remarried moved to Omsk with her new husband but like me she misses the ocean and looks forward to visits back to her birthplace and the smell of the Pacific Ocean. When I asked why she didn’t fly she pointed under the bunk to volumes of packages…….”for my grandson”, she said, don’t you just love grandmas’ :-)))
The train stops spasmodically at various stations en route and it’s a great opportunity to get out and stretch your legs. It was during a brief stop at another indiscriminate station we met Cristina and Ana from Madrid who with only two weeks holidays had flown to Moscow boarded the Trans-Siberian for the trip to Vladivostok and with a couple of stopovers on the way they were having a great time of it all. We all caught up that night in the dining car for a few beers and were having such a great time that the kitchen closed and we missed out on dinner………………the girls came to the rescue with noodles…………..just sometimes they taste great!
We said our farewells that night as I was due to disembark at around 7.30am in the morning for my three day stopover in Khabarovsk. I don’t know a lot about this city but I have a good feeling that this place will be just the thing for some more R&R and another great snapshot of Russia.