|We have begun the transiberian journey. in fact we are now a little over half way through and now are deep in siberia. It has been an interesting couple of days. After all the racing around St Petersberg and Moscow desperately trying to see everything, the train journey has given us some enforced rest time.
I don't really know what to say about it. it has been different from anything we have done before. it is a stately way to travel and not really for the impatient or easily bored.
We were dropped at the platform in moscow quite late in the evening as our train pulls out at about 11:30. then we waited for a while until the train pulls in. it doesn't look anything out of the ordinary. a fairly old looking blue train with a big bulky electric train at the front.
suz and i decided to book a first class cabin, fearing being stuck in with a great big hairy, cigar smoking russian... or as a couple of the other blokes on our trip had the misfortune to experience - a family with a young child.
First class is lovely... still no shower regardless of what lonely planet may indicate. we have a lovely little cabin to ourselves and the provodnitza is nothing like we have heard about. supposedly they are great big sour faced russian matrons who don't speak any english and don't know what a smile is. our provodnitza is a smiling russian lady who is both helpful and generally quite smiley.
We are the only first class carriage and it is only half full so all is quite good.
sleeping has been interesting as some of the rails are a bit rough and we are going through many different time zones so our body clocks are quite seriously scrambled.
over our journey from moscow to irkutsk we have rolled past thousands of miles of birch and fir forests, occasionally spotted with little dark wood villages and the odd big river or grey ugly industrial town. i have to say that much of the modern architecture is pretty grim stuff. grey concrete blocks with rusting iron grills and peeling painted doors. the old stuff although quite nice is seriously delapidated and in major danger of collapse (no right angles that is for sure)
but now we are in irkutsk and are about to head into mongolia for another bit of adventure. irkutsk has been a little bit of a let down as there is little to do and see. but soon mongolia which i am really looking forward to.
sorry about the moscow bit... will add that later.
ian and suz