AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Sitting here on the Trans-Siberian Railway reminds me of camping holidays. I’m living in a cramped area which is not designed for this kind of living, whilst taking every opportunity to remind myself that it is outside which matters and the inside is just the price you have to pay to see what we are seeing. Our cabin consists of four beds and a rather small table. There is storage space under the bed/seat and more storage over the door. In the corridor we have the hot water tank at one end of each carriage, a bin at the other and a toilet at both ends (although our carriage only has one in use, we suspect the conductor is keeping the other to himself). And with that four people have to live for 6 days. Cooking consists of adding boiling water to a pack of noodles. To drink we either make tea or drink the bottled water we have bought at the stations. There is a restaurant car, but it is basic, way overpriced, only has about 5 tables and has a waitress who makes the Parisian waitresses look polite. I don’t know whether to be surprised or not at the lack of basic items. No cold water, no shelves, no privacy curtain for each bunk, no bin in each room, better toilet facilities and a washroom which actually feels like a room of cleaning. Even the heating is out of my control, the conductor decides how hot we should be and we live with that. The seats are very firm, there is a hint of foam but little else to suggest human comfort was a factor in their specification, but as bed they are solid. It takes a while to find a position where you might actually be able to sleep. We brought enough dried noodles and loose green tea to last the trip. We have bought bottled water at a number of stations, plus ice tea and fruit juice. We have also bought biscuits and various other snacks. We have ventured into local foods, some of it good, some not so good. The biggest surprise so far has been the total lack of alcohol, it can’t be bought at any station. I guess this is to crack down on the excessive drinking levels in Russia. On day one and two the views were a bit dull, vast forests as far as the eye could see, but now on day three it feels like Siberia. The temperature has dropped and the last station reported -12 degrees. There is now an inch or so of snow and the sun...

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