It’s almost over; we have almost made it! This is the final leg of our train trip from Beijing to Moscow. We will be taking a high-speed train from Moscow to St. Petersburg; that hardly counts. Short trip in comfortable seats – anyone can do that!
It is interesting that each of the 3 Russian train we have been on are slightly different from each other. I believe we went from newest to oldest. The current train has much in common with the Chinese one. It is definitely old but at least has a power outlet in the cabin so we can charge our devices. It is also air conditioned, which the Chinese train was not. The beds are rock hard but a mattress pad is provided, which is a nice touch. And, though the toilets empty on the tracks at least the cabin stewards keep the toilet paper supply stocked. I think we can survive the final 24-hour jaunt.
One difference on this part of the trip is that rather than sharing a cabin with 3 others from our tour, we have a Russian woman sharing the cabin with us. She is friendly but does not speak English. Apparently she booked the cabin reserving one of the bottom bunks and by the time G Adventures purchased tickets, it was impossible to book enough full cabins for the group. Unfortunately that meant I had to climb up to the upper bunk which was a bit of a challenge for this old woman.
The menu for the dining car was completely different than on the last train. It was much more varied and the translations actually made sense. This turned out not to matter whatsoever! For breakfast we wanted to order pancakes; we were told we could have pirogies. I was given a potato one; Clayton got an onion and meat filled one. They were tasty; just not what we wanted. We returned later in the day for lunch. We carefully poured over the menu and selected what we wanted only to be told that we could have pirogies; potato only available now.
Our cabin mate left us a few hours outside of Moscow. I excitedly stretched out on the now vacant bottom bunk. I had no more gotten comfortable than a new cabin mate appeared – darn it! He was a young guy (probably in his 30’s) and had been smoking the wacky weed before getting on the train. No big deal; he just smelled pretty strong. I shouldn’t complain; our previous roommate smelled as well, but of BO. Between the two, I will take someone smelling of pot any day of the week! It turns out that our new guy spoke fluent English. He was a sales rep for Philip Morris and told us all about some new smoking device that he sells for around $700. We chatted until the train arrived at the station late in the afternoon.
I did the happy dance as we hauled our luggage off of the train; we made it!