Monday, May 30, 2011

28 April: Trans-Mongolian Train (Ishim to Novosibirsk)

I slept much better last night, had some weird dreams, but that seems to be the norm lately. I woke up when the train was stopped at Ishim station - so far we seem to be doing approx 1000kms every 12 hours. The scenery does not seem to have changed too much. Although it got quite hilly at sunset last night in what I presume were the Urals.

Perhaps I spoke too soon, it does look like there are vast sections with no trees but rather stretches of fields. All very flat now tho.

I have also realised that in my fear for Russia's cold, I have supremely over packed! Which may seem strange as my bag was only 11.6Kgs on departure (for 3.5weeks). But there are plenty of jerseys, socks, stockings and long sleeved tops I will never use on this trip (I managed to wear just a T-shirt with a sleeveless windbreaker around Moscow). Sigh. Oh well, I guess if I do buy too much in China I can always get a 2nd bag. Will see how it goes :)

I had one of the apples I bought in Moscow for breakfast along with some Cal-C-Vita flavoured water. Decided it's a better idea to have the big meal of the day round lunch since we really are living a rather sedentary lifestyle on the train.

We waited till after the Omsk stop to have lunch. The stops are far less exciting than I expected from the book. It talks of all these fabulous foodstuffs you can buy. I find it all rather the same and have not bought anything today. I know if I buy snack food, I'll eat it even tho I'm not really hungry, just because it gives you something to do. I did open the packet of biscuits I bought in Moscow today tho. Am rationing myself - haha.

Anyway, yes, the train stops involve little more than a wander along the platform while a Coal Cart stops at each carriage refilling the coal supply for the water heater (samovar). I'm glad I don't drink tea or coffee since I didn't think to bring a cup! I've realised I really didn't give much thought to life on a train before I left at all! There is a UK couple in our carriage who have brought along all their own food. Planning trips to the restaurant carriage are helping to break up my day tho, so I'm quite enjoying it :)

I had trout for lunch today. Not bad, but I definitely preferred last night's chicken!

I tried charging my phone which was almost out of battery in our carriage socket but it was only a 48V so that did nothing but upset me :(

Eventually I did find a socket in the restaurant car so I happily sat with my charging phone, reading for quite a while this afternoon.

We're travelling on Moscow time till the Mongolian border but actually, the local time is slowly changing and today you could really tell. Instead of having light till after 20h30, we lost the sun at 17h30!

It may also be because there seems to have been rain before our arrival in Novosibirsk and the clouds overhead had been looking ominous since much earlier.

Only briefly hopped off at this stop, it was much colder! Hauled out the thick socks, gloves & hat. Brr!

But, after the stop, Rat and I headed to the restaurant carriage and had a light dinner of warm borscht with chicken (I don't know why they bother with the chicken), which was ideal!

I have decided to move my clock ahead tonight because the local time is now Moscow Time + 4, which is the same as Mongolia & China. And I figure the sooner I can get used to the time change the better, otherwise I'll be waking up at 3am to see Lake Baikal in 2 days!

So that makes it now after midnight for me, so I'm off to bed.

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