by Colin Dunn
The journey may have been long but it wasn’t without it’s unexpected surprises. A stop for refuelling at Omsk station in Siberia at sunset allowed us to get off the train and stretch our legs for a while, giving me the time to capture some lovely evening light in a place far, far from home. But there was still a long way to go.
by Colin Dunn
My thoughts have recently been turning to my Trans-Mongolian trip that occurred this time last year and I thought it might be worth posting a few pictures I’ve not published before.
At 00:35 on the 1st July 2013 I got onto Train 044, found Coach 09 and settled into Seat 19 that was to become my home for the next 4 days as we made our way from Moscow to Irkutsk in Siberia. Compact & bijou, I think the term is, though it is much more comfortable than it appears and I had no problems sleeping – but then I never do! As you can see from the picture above, this leg of the journey cost 2494 Roubles, which worked out at the time to be just short of £287. Not bad value, given the distance we covered of approximately 4200 km / 2600 miles
Travelling alone and having booked a 2nd class, 4-berth compartment I knew I would be sharing but I didn’t know who with. I was pleasantly surprised to realise pretty quickly that my only companion for this part of the journey would be a woman from Nizneudinsk in Siberia called Natasha who was making her way home after visiting relatives. With there only being the two of us at least we had a bit more space to spread out and make ourselves comfortable, though communication was challenging seeing as she spoke no English and I no Russian. So how did I find out all this information about her? Sign language, various scribbles in notepads and the odd word I recognised. And of course, plenty of smiles, something that would stand me in good stead throughout my trip.
Knowing that entertainment would be limited on the train I had purposely loaded up a few books onto my iPad with the intention of catching up on my reading and maybe do a little writing myself. I did very little of that, sleeping frequently, walking up and down the train corridors to keep the blood circulating and many an hour spent looking out of the window.
This is a proper working train, not the Orient Express, constantly ferrying people from one side of this vast country to the other and just about everyone on my particular carriage was Russian. I had no issues with anyone, apart from the final few hours but that’s another story.
I’d just had a few days in St Petersburg and Moscow but I could finally say that my real adventure had begun.