AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Trans-mongolian Railway thoughts

Posted on Nov 11, 2013

From day 3 the train passes through Siberia and as it was November it was snowy as well as cold. Frozen lakes and rivers covered the land. Day 5 sees you travel through Mongolia. Mongolia is very flat and the Gobi Desert a real dust pan. Every so often towns pop up and we saw camels, deer and yaks. The train is somewhat mind-numbing. In second class it is hard to get comfortable. The toilets are sub standard and you can’t wash. The food is expensive and the border crossings are ridiculously long, made worse by the fact the toilets are locked and after a while you can’t even leave the train. As yet I have not experienced the 6 hours of Chinese Customs and bogie changing, which entails 4 hours at the border. Should you take the train? Although flawed in many ways and having long periods of time when you are uncomfortable, bored and unable to stretch your legs you should do it. Why? It is an experience, you see three countries and 3 cultures. You meet new people and you go on the world’s longest railway journey. Your mouth will water as you smell the cooking of the conductor’s food and you will ache lots but not that many people have done it and life’s about doing new things so go for it. Posted from Xilin Gol, Nei Mongol,...

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Not really knowing what to expect is indeed positive. The windows been somewhat dirty exacerbated the gloom of rural Russia. Endless miles of trees interspersed with small townships seemingly with no road network and appearing to have no form of economic importance lined the route intermittantly. Why then are these towns here? As we continued through the Russian wilderness we began to awe at any signs of life, a small cabin, a factory and indeed any signs of humanity. We all know Russia is vast but time on the train reiterates this and the mundanity of daily life leads to reflections about the culture you live in, the similarities and mostly the differences. There is no reading material on the train and our Chinese guard did not speak English. We were expecting announcements about time zones and also place locations but so far have received none. Luckily we had some information as our fellow cabin mates have the Lonely Planet book about the route. Maybe tomorrow I shall brush up on my knowledge about the world’s longest train journey. Posted from Omsk, Omskaya oblast,...

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