Train Journey 2 – Moscow to Irkutsk

Day 6 to 8:
22.10.2009 to 24.10.2009

This was the longest time we spent on a train. The journey from Moscow to Irkutsk took 3 days 4 nights. I didn’t get a good sleep on the first night because everyone was snoring at different intervals throughout the whole night. An essential item to pack for next trip MUST be ear plugs.

Living on the train seems to be quite comfortable. Not only did everyone pack lots of food, there were also lots of stories exchanged and Max (the Russian) even had a laptop with a portable sound woofer with him! This kept us busy for a few hours everyday.

Everyday we would spent about 2 hours in the morning chit chatting or look at photos taken so far by everyone. Then it would follow by ‘tv’ time. We watched a few episodes of ‘Family Guy’ (in English) and ‘Futurama’ (in Russian). There were also movie session in the afternoon. Sometimes the ladies will be reading while the men watched old premier league football matches (Max is an Arsenal fan). At the end of the train journey, I had read 3 books and exchanged one book with Judith.

Throughout the whole journey, the train would make stops at major towns for 10 to 30 mins. Everyone will take the opportunity to stretch their legs and get fresh air. This is also an opportunity to replenish our food as they are many food sellers on the platform. Everyday we would sample some local food with the help of Max telling us which one is good. Also we would get more beers to accompany our meals. It felt like we’re having a picnic everyday with everyone sharing and trying local food.

Although the train we boarded is a modern train, it does not have shower facilities. Luckily we brought wet wipes with us and that it is winter! I was rather worried how I’m going to survive not washing my hair for 4 days but I did it.

As the train travels further east, the weather starts getting colder and eventually it started snowing when we reach Siberia. In addition, we also experienced several time change, which makes traveling overland strange. It starts to get dark earlier and earlier.

One thing I forgot to mention, all the train in Russia operates on Moscow time, irregardless of the time difference. So, Irkutsk is 5 hours ahead of Moscow. That means we’re arriving at 2am Moscow time!! So we needed to pack our bags and be prepare before we go to sleep. We exchanged contact details with everyone and promised to get in touch. Judith even had a Australian souvenir for Max. He has been a lovely traveling companion, not only helping us translating the language, but also sharing his food and educating us about life in Russia.

Before we went to bed, both Max and our carriage attendant promised to wake us up 30 mins before arrival to make sure that we alight in the correct city. 🙂

Click to read on: Irkutsk & Lake Baikal


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