Traveling on the Trans-Siberian
This was the inspiration of my trip: riding the Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia. Six days travel gets you from Moscow to Vladivostok on the east coast. I get off just past Lake Baikal in lower Siberia. You can pass through seven time zones. Just four days for me. Four days?
The Trans-Siberian Railway changed Russia. Millions of people and a lot of stuff has moved across Russia on this line. Now, it attracts foreign tourists like me.
I told you I had a hard time buying a ticket in Moscow (three hours of various lines at various railway stations). The Russian word for second class and third class are similar. I ended up in third-class. I didn’t know there was a third-class on that train!
Third-class means six people with an open walkway through your cabin. I expected a four-bunk cabin with a door that closes on the hall but that is second-class.
Although I spoke few Russian words and my fellow passengers spoke little English, we got along well. We shared food and tea and sat around a small table to eat lunch. I looked at people doing crossword puzzles using Cyrillic letters.
A conversation would go like this:
“My name is Veronika.”
“My name is Lee.”
I spent a lot of time reading Dostoyevsky. The book was called ‘The Idiot’. That’s how I felt when I realized that I was riding in the caboose.
You might think such a trip would be boring but it isn’t. If you get tired, you can catch a nap on an upper bunk. If you want some exercise, you can walk the length of the train which involves opening heavy doors between the cars. You can stop between cars and do stretching stuff. You can also find your way to the food car and eat. Be careful about this because the staff are bound to charge high prices to foreigners. Real Russians eat simple meals in their cars.
More to come.
your intrepid reporter,