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Trans-Siberian

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Trans-Siberian

This is a post i should have published about a week ago but have only just finished it......

I'm 4663 kilometres into the Trans-Siberian, 4649km is the half way point between Moscow and Vladivostok the far eastern port town of Russia. In total once I have reached Irkutsk I think I will have ben on a train for about 80 hours or so, it is difficult to tell because the train runs on Moscow time, even though we pass through 5 or 6 different time zones, so you need two clocks to try and keep track. The problem with going east for so long is that the days become shorter and shorter, every 1000km or so I have to fast forward my watch by an hour.

I am travelling in Kupe Class which is second class, there are 4 bunks in the room and generally it is quite comfortable, I have been able to lay on my bed looking through the window at all the scenery that Siberia has to offer.

The Scenery….

Travelling at Russian train speed across the country you have time to take in the scenery at a very leisurely pace, this is not the Japanese Bullet Train by any means. I would say that it is a steady 60mph all the way with the constant banging and clattering that any 50 year old train would have developed over the years.

I have seen endless amounts of Silver Birch, perhaps thousands of kilometers of the trees, but what surprises me is that when there is a clearing in the wood you can see small villages that sit completely isolated from anything and any real apparent civilisation and you wonder how they manage at all. As you pass in the night you can see that these tiny wooden ruins are dimly lit from inside and if you look closer you can see people inside pottering around doing their domestic chores. It is inconceivable to imagine that these places are habited especially during the harsh Siberian winter when the temperature often drops down to -40degC for three months of the year. Surely they leave the village and go on holiday to Salou only to return once the land has thawed.

We make regular pit stops where I assume the driver takes one of those Technical Breaks that the Russians clearly enjoy. When we stop the train is swarmed by local tradesmen and women selling anything from smoked fish, fruit, beer to children’s books and fur hats.

Hang on, I think Grandpa Anatoni has just relaxed his bowels as I write this, I think maybe with his age he has little or no control over his movements, its understandable i guess when im his age ill have earned the right to fart anywhere in public also. Maybe i should fel sorry for Gramps, but the room is 27 degrees and there is no ventilation!!

Sorry, I digressed.....

Being on the train and being the only foreigner is slightly intimidating, if only for the group of guys that are travelling in the same compartment walking around with their tops off, probably going to the same destination as me with the intention to take possession of my worldly goods….. but maybe a bit of paranoia has set in which is understandable under the circumstances. I am alone in Siberia on a train with lots of Russians, what do I expect!! I think though that Grandma and Grandpa would protect me anyhow, she has a big handbag and I'm sure would teach those boys a lesson with it….. have no fear!!!

That of course is no reason not to enjoy the train experience, I am in a privileged position and am enjoying the lot of it!!

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temperature of cabin
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Platform Salesmen
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Silver Birch
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Journey to Irkutsk
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Small Siberian Village
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Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 03:10 Archived in Russia Tagged russia class irkutsk trans yekaterinburg siberian kupe

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