Sunday, May 25, 2014

Moscow to Beijing - day 3

Again I slept well despite the hard bed as well as the jolting and banging. Some of the jolting was quite severe. John had not managed to sleep as well as I had since the train started off in Moscow.

This is Ishim at about 8 am Moscow time, 2431 km from Moscow. Locally it would have been about 10 am but my body was still running on Moscow time and we had stayed up late the night before talking. I had briefly considered stopping off in various locations along the way but I suspect there is not too much to see in many of these large industrial cities. Most of them are built beside a large river.

I seem to remember going to this shop and buying an ice cream.

The broom that the attendants use to keep the carriage clean. Well cleanish. These are very old carriages that have seen a lot of miles. Other travelers said that the Russian sleeper carriages were much better. The beds were quite hard as well. Still, I mostly slept well.

The 2nd class sleeper carriages. They have four berths to a compartment.

The dining room. Often there was a large tour group of Swedes who occupied the far end during meal times. We learned quickly not to bother going to the restaurant car if the Swedes were heading down that way. They got priority service. 

The menu. While all items were not available at any given meal, usually the missing items were available the next day. I did try the Borscht but I can't say it was great. There are about 33 roubles to US $1. If you click on an image you will be get a larger version.

The coffee was strong and good.

The blini pancakes that I ate for breakfast every day. I liked the smoked salmon version best.

Tony had Borscht for breakfast one morning so I got a photo of it.

Max and Tony. They are childhood friends and each year they try to do some trip together. We had some great conversations.

The drinks and sweets available for purchase. A beer was 120 rubles.

My GPS map showing us just north of  Kazakhstan.

Fortunately our compartment had an outlet that worked. The outlets in most of the other compartments did not work so we were quite popular with our fellow travelers. One of them asked why our's worked and his didn't. I told him we paid extra. He was not impressed.

The 'shower' unit between two compartments. I use the word 'shower' in its broadest sense to describe the pitiful dribble of water that emerged from the shower head. At least, I could wash a little and feel less grimy. Eventually I broke down and washed my hair in the cold water.

It really is pretty scenery. It is just so easy to stand a look out for mile after mile.

The roof shape in this region intrigued me. No doubt the snow is particularly deep and crisp here.

The gambril style roof is also popular.

A new construction.

Omsk. The Russians certainly knew how to build an impressive station. Even out here, the bigger stations have free internet. However you need to be able to read and understand Cryllic to get access.

20 minutes to departure at Moscow time, 11:47 or three hours later local time.

Another ice-cream. perfect for a late lunch.

Many stations had one of these old steam locomotive monsters. Note that they have five driving wheels.

A swampy area.

We never came close to the source of the smoke to find out what it was.

Vegetable gardens on the outskirts of town.

Rob bought a fish and it was salty and tasty in a fishy way as you might expect.

The Chinese attendants having a play on the enormous engine. I don't think any of them spoke English but they were friendly.

Some of the Swedish group. There was a rumour that some of them had got left behind at a prior stop. They had walked over the tracks to an adjacent platform for some reason or other and just before our train was due to depart, another train came in and they couldn't get back to the correct platform in time. Whether the rumour was true or not, it could easily happen.

Russians waiting for their train to go to the suburbs.

Rob with his goodies. Platform food is cheaper than the food in the dining car and makes a change.

It's not all birch trees. I found the scenery really interesting and we agreed that at times you could think you were in England except the trees were wrong.

Novosibirsk. It was about 19:30 Moscow time but 22:30 local time. It's the third largest city in Russia.

And it was quite chilly compared to other stops along the way. This city holds the distinction of being the coldest large city on Earth.

Steps to below the passage. I was glad I did not have to go down there but could return to my bunk.


  1. Forgive me if this is a stupid question, but does it stay lighter longer there?

  2. The further north you go in summer, the longer the days. North of the Arctic Circle in Narvik, the sun does not go down on the longest days of the year. Most of the journey from Moscow through Russia is at a latitude which is similar to Scotland or the southern shores of Hudson Bay in Canada. So yes, the days are longer there in summer than what you would experience in the USA.