The train ride from Irkutsk to Moscow (more than 5000 km) was the longest leg on our journey. Four nights and three days in the train across the Siberian plains, the Ural mountains and the Volga-land to the capital. We had sun and rain and more sunshine, as the forests and villages swooshed by. Our wagon attendant was strict and friendly, opening up more and more over the days.
In our six-wagon train, there were two more foreigners (from Korea) and the rest of the passengers were Russian. To meet more foreigners, you can take one of the trains that go all the way from Beijing to Moscow, and jump on and off. In our train there were plenty of people with different backgrounds – families, people on business trip, soldiers and even a team of locomotive drivers who were on a trip to collect a new locomotive from the factory.
The train stopped every second hour or so, mostly for a couple of minutes. A few times per day, there were half-hour stops. We took the opportunity to get off the train, to walk a bit in the village or town and to buy some fresh food; pelmeni (dumplings) or pirogi (meat-bread) or just bread. And cold beer. On many stations, they were selling fresh kvas – a rye-bread-based fermented drink, not unlike dark beer,but a little more sour.
The rest of the time we spent reading and writing and talking and playing cards. (And as one could guess, Goran joined the traditional vodka drinking with the men in the neighboring compartment…)
Modern travel with laptop and smartphone and electric toys is never complete without a charging point. There were several in our wagon, with different voltages. 50V, 110V and 220V, and all the passengers took turns in charging their gadgets. The laptop charger even could handle the 50V outlet!
In the end of each wagon, there is a samovar for hot water, so we had lots of good tea and some acceptable powder coffee on the road. There was a restaurant wagon with pelmeni and fried potatoes, so in the end, we only had noodles twice.
It was a beautiful train ride, and it was also very pleasant to arrive to Moscow and take a real shower at the guesthouse.