Wednesday, 11 June 2008

A very long way...

First things first:
  • these trains are big
  • they go a very long way
  • they all run on Moscow time (despite some of Russia being nine hours ahead of that)
  • food may or may not be provided at an odd or inconvenient time of the day or night
  • meals before noon are cold and chocolate based
  • meals after noon are "hot" and meatballandrice based
  • endless hot (one degree short of boiling) water is available 24/7
  • a variable trickle of cold water is also accessible; except for thirty minutes before, during or after every station. Helpful
  • Siberia is very big; Russia is even bigger
  • There is no ventilation on said trains. Fact.
So, 21.30 on Saturday seems like a very long time ago. 75 hours and 38 minutes of train journey from Moscow gets you as far as Irkutsk by 06.03 on Wednesday. Admitedly the thing only averages 60km/h (including pleanty of hald hour stops), but Irkutsk is still only half way along the Trans-Siberian.

Almost the entire trip was spent in a four bed cabin, occupied by two smelly, hairy, beer drinkers with dodgy accents. And a Russian guy.

Russia is big. I possibly already mentioned that? But Siberia is not as Siberia-esque as I had imagined. Ok, so possibly I'm naïve, thirty degrees too far south and six months late, but it is so green and full of trees. Not the vast expanses of nothingness that I imagined. Kazakhstan was a bit hillier, but other than that, remarkable little change in the 5185km from Moscow to Irkutsk.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So what happened to James, or has he gone hairy and smelly? Keny