Russia, Trans Mongolian Railway

The Long Ride Through Siberia, From Moscow to Irkutsk

The Trans Mongolian train journey is a full seven days if you are doing it straight. We had it split up with stops along the way, where the first leg between Moscow and Irkutsk would account for almost five out of these seven travel days.

With the first and longest leg of the train journey coming to an end it is almost sad to get off the train and on the ground again. The four walls of the train compartment has been our home, kind of like a hostel on wheels, where our sightseeing has been limited to observations through the window, the small walks on the stops and the evening trips to the restaurant. It feels like we have gotten pretty close to our train carriage attendant, the Provodnitsa, who has been like our mother on the train. She has been coming into our compartment to vacuum the floors several times a day, standing up for us when some punks took our computer, and smacking peoples butts (literally) when our compartment has been particularly dirty, or when one of us had lost the toilet brush through the toilet and onto the tracks.

The days on the train has been just like being back to the early teens, where we would just be hanging around, being careless about time, and staying up for no particular reason, making us more giggly by the hour, where also the vodka played its small part. It has been very convenient waking up in the same swimshorts as the days before and just putting on a t-shirt and slippers for the hallways and a set of hat, jacket and jeans for the small walks in the minus twenty degrees there were at most of the stops.

It has been really easy getting used to the simple daily ritual mix of feeding, reading, socializing and sleeping. The clock has to be adjusted every day to keep up with the time zones, but to us it does not matter what the time is. We eat when we are hungry and sleep while we are tired. Our diet has also been quite simple, where todays diet consisted of the following:
– 4 packs of noodles, mostly combined with instant soup for more nutrition and for more variety of tastes
– fruits: two pears, an apple, a banana and a couple of slices of a giant orange (picture from last post)
– four cups of tea, half a litre of water, some beer and vodka. The cheap wines here are synthetical, tasting nothing like real grape wine, so we try to stay far away from it
– a bag of chips, some biscuits, two potato croissants (delicious) and three (extremely cheap) ice creams from the hallway vendors

Even with a crappy diet and no exercise it has been no problem falling asleep at night. Siberia is called the sleeping land, and when getting to bed in the evening it is enough to watch endless trees and snow passing by together with the familiar train sounds which feels like a lullaby. I have loved every minute of the nearly 100 hours spent on the train so far, and getting off at Irkutsk where the temperature lies at a stable minus 30 degrees is going to be interesting.