Four days on the train
Irkutsk Travel Blog› entry 3 of 20 › view all entries
We spent four days in a row on the train, to get from Moscow to Irkutsk. Because we booked the Trans-Mongolian as a package through Monkey Business, we were collected from the hotel and driven to the train station in Moscow. This made it easier than having to navigate the Moscow transport system. It's not that the metro is a problem, it's just sometimes you feel lazy.
We shared our four-berth second class cabin with two Irish backpackers. They introduced us to the ubiquitous backpacker's card game: Shithead. This helped pass the time over the next four days. We spent our time reading and chatting, and listening to music. The view out of the window was largely unchanging: birch trees and haystacks.
Two or three times a day the train would stop for twenty minutes, allowing us to get off and stretch our legs. The train was often too warm, so a chance to get some fresh air was usually appreciated. There was food to buy on the platforms: berries, dried fish, instant noodles, biscuits etc. Bottled water and fruit juice as well. The only danger was getting left behind; we did lose a French tourist at one of the stations. Hopefully they got on the next train.
The restaurant car provided an opportunity to get away from the compartment while the train was moving.
I thought that I'd get really bored on the train: I don't normally like train journeys, and I'm not a fan of beach holidays where you just lie reading a book all the time, so I thought I'd get really restless. In the end I really enjoyed the experience. I'd like to factor another long train journey into some travelling some time in the future.