Our main means of transportation in Russia is the train. We’re following the Trans Siberian Railway and hopping off whenever we pass through a village or town we think is worth our while.
Before getting on the train we need to get our tickets. Although it takes some preparation, google translate, sign language and patience at the security check, it has gone smoothly up till now. Remo was feeling so confident that he even started to order train tickets online. Awesome we thought, as it all seemed to be working out. Until we found out that we ordered the wrong tickets for a 35 hour train ride ( we would have to spend the trip in separate carriages).
Next challenge was explaining that we wanted to cancel our tickets, get our money back and order new tickets. To our amazement that just took 15 minutes as there is a special office window for that at the train station. Well hello NMBS, here is something you could learn.
The trips themselves have been comfortable. We had modern, new trains and very old ones. As companions we’ve come across an old Russian lady (she introduced herself very proudly as a Tatar) and a teenage couple whose heads were constantly intertwined. Sometimes the drive takes really long but Russians are very sociable on the train. They are interested in your story, want to tell theirs, are drinking lots of tea and share their food (yummie). We feel it’s a nice way to discover Russia.
After Suzdal, we stopped in Kazan & Yekaterinburg. Both cities are comparable to Moscow for us but smaller in size. All in all we just didn’t expect Russian cities to be so colorful, have so many pharmacies & coffee places and music on the street. Although we have loved spending time in them, we both feel we’re a bit fed up with the traffic, city noises & exhaust fumes.
Time for some nature. And we will go to The Stolby Nature Reserve & Lake Baikal to find just that.
xx Lisa & Remo
(*Literally translated from the Flemish expression: Ik versta er geen bal van. Meaning I don’t understand a word of it)