(Russian train station…we spend a lot of time in buildings like this waiting….)
So this leg of the journey turned out to be one of the toughest. Our train ride was 24 hours, and we had 3 top bunks which meant no real place to sit. We did actually have one bottom bunk but turns out some old lady had over taken that one. During the day the top bunks fold up and then you all sit on the bottom ones, but this is dependent on whether the person on the bottom ever gets up, and old ladies never get up, they lie around all day long. But the day passed ok, we read lots, played cards and went through our supply of instant noodles and instant coffee.
(Platskart train days…)
We were well and truly into Siberia now and we watched it pass through the dirty train windows, not the barren land I imagined but all yellowing trees and field of grass, quite pretty actually.
A pretty uneventful day until we were standing around the samovar (hot water dispenser) making bed time hot chocolates when we meant 2 young Kazakhstani guys travelling to Novosibirsk (where we were heading to change to a bus to Tomsk) for a metal concert. They were med students and spoke a little bit of English, so just as we were about to go to bed the invited us to drink Kazakhstani vodka, better than Russian vodka of course. Somehow the vodka kept coming and a few bottles later we were singing each other songs on an untuned guitar in the smoking areas while old Russian women laughed at us. Our phrase book came in handy again for the other random Russians who came to join us. Language barriers cease to be a problem after awhile. The down side to this was having to get off the train in the middle of the night, after no sleep, still dark outside and a long walk to the bus station. I am not sure how we managed to make it off the train with all our stuff but we did and had a 2 hour nap in the station until it was light then walked the 30minutes across town in 5degree weather to this tiny bus station with no seats and too many people.
Probably the most difficult walk ever, just needing concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. We waited an hour for the bus and slept the whole 5 hours to Tomsk.
By the time we arrived in Tomsk we had crossed another time zone, hadn’t eaten for the whole day and again were without accommodation. Me and Tom left Rdoc in the station with our packs and went out to find somewhere to stay. We walked right across town getting turned away everywhere before our last hope turned out to have rooms, very cheap rooms with amazing showers, tv’s and fridges-although slightly dodgy building standards. It was bliss to have a shower and get some real food. Another mega intense journey that reminded us we should book hotels in advance. Problem being that no one speaks english so this is actually impossible most of the time….
Tags: Russia, TRAVELS 2008