Sunday, May 25, 2014

Moscow to Beijing - day 4

The low temperature at Novosibirsk should have been a warning to me. It was quite cold in the compartment that night and I couldn't find a blanket until I got up the next morning.

Occasionally you see people trudging beside the railway track. In general life seems to be more prosperous looking that what I expected, but then again, I only catch a brief glimpse from the train window.

I could imagine retiring to one of these small villages out in the middle of nowhere. Life would have to be really tough in winter however.

Usually, roads are paved but there are still an awful lot of dirt roads that become mud like this.

This was the blini with a little stripe of caviar.

Breakfast bill for the blini and the cup of coffee for about $8.

Another of the samovar stoves. Some of the carriages were much warmer than the others where the attendants had turned on the heat somehow.

Newer buildings like this one were rare.

More swampy ground.

Another bearer of the yellow stick. Considering how many trains pass in a day the poor person manning this crossing would have to be standing outside for hours each day. Try doing that in the middle of winter in Siberia.

It looks like they burn off the undergrowth. 

We started to see more pine trees instead of birch.

I think it was coffee beans on the right but I suspect I am wrong. On the left he seems to have pine cones.

I bought a few items, some were ok but one fritter thing seemed to be made of onion and salt and I gave it to Rob.

It's really beautiful.

When taking photos from the window I had to make sure that I had the camera strap around my neck. Oncoming trains could give you a fright if you did not hear them coming.

More undergrowth reduction.

I never got tired of looking at the birch trees. It's quite hypnotic standing there looking at them. As the guide book points out, they are not a solid mass of trees but clumps of trees that overlap so that it looks like a never ending solid mass.

I suspect these are insulated pipes to provide heat. It certainly looks like they did not plan their layout too well here but they introduce sharp bends deliberately for some reason or other.

Nizhneudinsk at 16:18 Moscow time. We had now reached time zone +5 so local time was 21:18.

John had read somewhere that a gas meter key could be used on locks like this to lock your compartment door from the outside. 

Late afternoon sun.

My bowl of Borscht. It could have been better. The food was usually ok without being wonderful.

About midnight, Max and Tony were due to get off the train at Irkutz. They were staying awake by drinking more beer. It was very interesting to hear their views on Russia and also the other Scandinavian countries. We were sad to say goodbye to them.

I had expected to enjoy the train travel and the scenery but I had was surprised by how much I had enjoyed the conversations with my fellow travelers. By now our group had been joined by a German girl in her late 20's who lived in Ireland. She had a really unusual accent. The train was almost empty and whole carriages were unused. There were a couple of Finnish blokes in a compartment in our carriage but they did not seem to speak much English and they just sat in their compartment in the gloom and drank. They rarely appeared.

The moon over Russia.

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