How was it? It was great!
We are in Olkhon Island. Under warm blanket I’m going back in my memories to 4 days in the train line Moscow-Irkutsk.
We are leaving Irina’s house - our host in Moscow and going to explore more Russia. Of course, we took metro to arrive to the train station. It was empty this time, even if it was not that late. Our train is leaving at 00:30. We are bit to early so we have time for last tea in Moscow. We are looking at the time table of the departures; this is not daily view – cities like Vladivostok, Ulan Bator… For the first time I realize how far away we are, and how far away we are going.
Let the adventure begin!
Our train starts his way in Moscow, so we have chance to take it bit earlier. Half an hour before departure we can go inside. We are meeting our ‘prowadnica’ (kind of conductor) and the closest neighbors – Ludmila and Marina, coming back home in Arkhara after few months stay in Moscow. What a nice company! Mother and daughter, and a baby is on the way 🙂 We have a beautiful and calm 4 days for talking about everything...
…I’m lying down on my bed and from the top, I can see more people. Each person is busy somehow. In the background I can hear some talks in language which I remember so well from the school. I’m thinking about how this country is big. Russia. So known, and so unknown. So close and so long way away from me. Behind the window I can see only snow. A lot of snow… I’m reading „The book of disquiet” and melancholy is with me. I feel pity that very often we want to be so fast at the point. It would be nice if the road sometimes could become a goal in itself…
International meetings somewhere in deep Russia
At the next day we are getting new friends. Marcelo – literature teacher from Brazil, he started literary circle around his neighbors reciting poetry in different languages. Kim from South Korea going back home after almost 2 years travel. Sajara, Moscow student from Mongolia, but with Kazakhstan roots. Svetlana and Aleksey from Irkutsk, such nice couple taking care of us so much. Alexander from Ulan Ude, going back home from work in taiga, very smiling and having specific sense of humor shaman.
Train became an exceptional platform, where you can easily see how we are different but this same somehow. Forced closeness makes us more open for each other and maybe more tolerant. Suddenly it turns out that the distance does not exist.
Cleanex, saving battery mode and tea...
Going by the third class we could feel like real travelers J without a shower and comfort, without sockets and private space. But with so many more important things… With samovar available 24h/day you will drink so many teas that without a full glass around you will start to feel weird. Walking between wagons you will discover ‘Narnia’ … full of snow and ice. Swaying train will make your dreams deep and to be honest, first 24 hours we were just sleeping. Later we didn’t want to waste our time for sleep. So many interesting pople around, histories and poetry...
I can’t imagine Russian house
There is Russian expression
"to have a sit by the samovar".
It means to have a leisurely talk while
drinking tea from a samovar.
During the stops the toilets are closed.
But also 30 min before and after stops.
It can surprised even the most tough ones.
If you don’t like to be in pain
check the time table of the service
– available at each door.
The Trans-Siberian Railway
with a lenght of 9289 km
is the longest railway line in the world.
At a Moscow-Vladivostok track length
it spans a record eight time zones.
Coming back to the point. What is worth to take for the way?
It depends of how long you will travel and what is your budget.
I recommend you to take some tasty food, sleepers and comfortable cloths. About the food – it is worth to prepare something before, just to not stay with instant noodles for all of those days. In the winter time it’s difficult to buy the things at the stops. At the biggest ones you can find small shops with the basic things. Once I found ‘babuszka’ and I bought nice meat balls, still warm. Do not forget to take a lot of tea and coffee!
Bottle of ‘Siberian crown’ beer cost 150 rubles in restaurant wagon. This same price I paid for our lunch from the lady.
Ps. Drinking alcohol in the wagons is forbidden… Yea, I know. Unbelievable.