Sunday 1st to Thursday 5th July Trans-Siberian to Irkurtsk
Moscow Travel Blog› entry 7 of 15 › view all entries
July 5th, 2007 – by: woosang
Hopped onto the nicest bus we have seen this whole trip. It even had luggage storage underneath. I had a terrific bus tour to the monastery of St Sergius which he founded in 1340.
We returned to Moscow, and were taken to the gardens that housed the summer palace of Peter the Great.
Natalya took us to a local supermarket, and I found people were asking David and I about what things were. (God Knows why)
We then had some free time so Natalya took us to the street that Muscovites walk down filled with fruit stalls. We took two Canadians to MacDonald’s so they can see the different burgers. On the way back to the bus, David found another stall that sold MP3s so I got a few this time. ON arrival at the station to get the Trans-Siberian, the bus driver did a U-turn in a wide street but unfortunately in front of the Policeman.
Had to stand for an Hour for the train to turn up and by then I had strained my stomach muscles. I am in suck pain that I haven’t even walked the train. As I ended up with the tickets, I had to bully my way to the front then bully the sheep onto the train. They were to get in and sort out the beds later, but they had this obsession with organising things. The Slavs behind me where agro and kept yelling at me. (Shame I didn’t understand and word and told them to bugger off in English)
At 2am I finally get to lie down.
Couldn’t sleep due to my stomach aching, I kept being woken up but at least I got to see some of the world go by. The conductress kept turning the air-con off so the rooms got impossibly stuffy. It reached 28oC and David went to complain. She turned it on again, only to turn it off 5 minutes later. With no showers this is not the best situation atm. The benches in 2nd class are vinyl and we get a roll up mattress and a European pillow to sleep on.. Quiet comfortable and easy to move out of the way. Had a look at 1st class (Double the price) and they get wooden walls, two pillows each and an extra blanket with a TV in their rooms, that can’t get a signal. Nice though as they have two to a cabin, but I do prefer 2nd class in this case. A tour member in 1st class, got fined as she was using two beds i.e. Spreading her stuff across the whole room, as she is alone in the room and the tour leader got fined 113r and she was told to move her stuff to one side only. We all chuckle about this as it is so very petty. BUT the fine was paid in good humour and she swears not to do it again.
As my stomach muscles hurt I am sure 4 days just lying around will do me a lot of good. I sure hope so anyway. I have such cramps that I am not even eating. It is not a food thing just muscular. So 3 out of the 4 Trans-Siberian books have gone to her. The other one and Confessions of a pagan Nun went to the library. SO YAY 6 books gone making a total of 8 released in Russia. One in public, next to St Basils. (Vampires in Moscow) I read a book today so I can release another when I arrive in Irkutsk. (The Nymphos in rocky flats)
I felt better by the evening, and got off at Бaлeзинo where my walking companion was brushed out of the way (She is tall, thin and very attractive) and I was offered a job as a prostitute. It was all I could do not to laugh but we kept walking. So many beggars but the food sellers had some great stuff. My cabin of course is filled with food I couldn’t eat, but it was great to see the fruit and meals these people cook for the train. A male member of the tour was propositioned and she went down to 5 roubles for her services and got angry when he wouldn’t accept even that. The sellers on the platforms perform important services for the unprepared on this train.
We have been playing air-con roulette all day/night. The Slavs in our carriage, complain it is too cold, to the conductress turns it off. Then it heats up to 28oc and we Aussies open all the windows. The conductress gets annoyed and turns on the air-con and closes the windows. The Slavs complain it is too cold........
Got up through the night, missed the obelisk marking the Asia/Europe border but as we passes it around 1am that was expected. IT was hot all night from us losing the roulette game, so every time one of us got up, we opened the windows. Feeling better today so far. Will start another book. The train is back on time. It was 20 minutes late yesterday. Funny for a Russian train, they usually run to the second on time and so all the trains behind us banked up. We would pull into a station, and then the next three behind us would pull in. Pulled into Tюмень this morning and there were no hawkers. Surprising as it was 9am local time.
The scenery of this area is lush and green, there are green meadows and tufts of trees. Many industrial type towns and lots of these little cottages that look like that are falling down, but have been lovingly painted around the doors and windows. As my windows are dirty, it has been near impossible to photograph them which is sad as they are so typically Russian. The wood of the cottage is so old it is nearly black, and the roofs are tarred. They have ornate carved architraves painted in white and blue (Usually) and this makes them look like little candy houses.
Tried to get aspirin from Барабинсk but the shops were on the other platform and the Tomsk-Moscow was between me and our train and I never venture too far from these trains. Even though they say 19 minutes, Russian trains leave when they are ready. There no waiting. The platform vendors were not too pushy so I was happy to purchase some bread as our on board bread is getting stale. The first class passengers have come down to join the second class as we have all the grog. Also they all have two berth compartments and they have gotten lonely. This town was the one that the Polish Jews were exiled to.
The surrounding areas are boggy and very swampy so it would have been a nasty place in summer then. Passed Омск a few hours back and this was the place that Dostoevsky was exiled to and flogged nearly to death in 1849.
Took The Nymphos in rocky flats to the first class area and I have seen it in the arms of a new reader. I hope he wasn’t looking for a sex book as it is more a fluffy detective story. **Chuckle**. The conductress is cleaning our room with us in it, she is so funny. We get her angry then give her chocolates so she is OK. Aussies are so annoying. LOL We were also singing ‘Blame Canada’ to irritate the Canadians who have not seen the South Park Movie I am sure they will go home and watch it, only to be horrified.
Awoke as we pulled into Мариинск. David shot out of bed, and ran into the morning light. Train time 0330hrs, local time 0730hours. Мариинск grew out of the Siberian Gold rush in the 1800’s and was originally called Кийск (The spelling I am not sure about) until 1857 when it was renamed in honour of the current tsar’s wife. The halfway marker (Moscow to Beijing) should be in around 3 hours. Everyone was still asleep, but at least my body clock is on local time, not Moscow time so I hope to minimise any ‘jet’ lag in Mongolia. Got to love train travel.
This is day 3 without a shower, only top and tail with baby wipes. We all are starting to be more fragrant than our usual selves even though we are doing everything in our power to keep it at bay. One of the first class passengers has it worse, her husband split Sardine oil in their cabin. EW!
Passed over the Yenisey River Bridge. It is 1km long and apparently won a gold medal at the 1900 Expo. That was about all, the train did pass through some pretty hilly country and it looked it Thredbo or Switzerland. I spend the day reading Eragon, which on the second try was a surprising good read. I will release this at the Hotel downstairs or at the Internet cafe in Irkutsk
I got off at a station and managed to find some bread and cheese for tomorrow’s brekkie. We also tried a waffle with caramel inside and smoked cheese strings. I thought it was fish. It tasted fishie. Yummy but very salty.
We have to get up early tomorrow and this bloody man next door is practising his clarinet. Usually I don’t mind but it is 1am local time. I will get up wrap it around his throat is he doesn’t stop.
Got awoken by the conductresses we have been plying with gifts. She warned us that they will be locking the toilets in 6 minutes. I was glad for the warning. Many others didn’t get one or chose to ignore her. (at their peril!) Our bunch mate has gotten sick but poor man has diahorrea and was vomiting and they closed the toilets. Having suffered on this train myself I sympathise.
Another nice hotel. We again have the top floor. A great view, but the air-con drips on the carpet. No english news channels and no english papers here. I feel very cut off. Had a bus/walking tour of the town and a tour of Volkonsky House Museum (the Decemberists revolution of 1825) We were dropped off in the centre of town and finding the 24hr internet cafe closed. (yes really) we found a small dive with computers in the basement of a shop. The hotel does offer internet services BUT They charge 6 roubles a minute. The internet cafe is 1 rouble a minute. From now in we will be lucky to find any internet. There are some in Ulaan-Baatar but outside of the city, no chance. Have a few days in a tourist trap by the lake then back to this hotel.
The air-con in this room leaks. We reported this as we left on the tour, but when we returned, and we turned on the thing again, it started to leak. We threw up our hands, and left it (Its not our carpet) but then a whole waterfall started to fall. David rang reception, and a lady came with a bucket. Our tour leader, asked if we wanted another room, but as her room is NOT air-conditioned, I would rather have a leaky air-con and the Chinese Water Torture, than no air-con at all. Back to the internet cafe to upload the past week!
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