What was life aboard the Tran-Siberian train (TST) like for my father and I? Well let me share some insights into our life’s, those four and a half days between Moscow and Mongolia (we will continue all the way to Vladivostok after a week in Mongolia).
For the most part life aboard a train is much like a boat in which you have a cabin that holds your bed, storage under it, and just enough room to stand up. Apparently we were in a Mongolian car instead of a Russian one (read Saturday’s blog for that story) and the accommodations were not quite what I would call 1st class since there was so little cushion, it felt like we were sleeping on a board. You will find the head (bathroom) is at either end of the car and the toilet dumps directly onto the tracks.
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Life is slow and relaxing, just as it can be on an ocean crossing, and I spent most of my time in the diner car, going through pictures and writing these blogs. My dad alternated from the cabin to joining me while he read and took tons of pictures of the landscape,
which was varied as we passed small towns, mountains, wooded areas, farms, fields, rivers, marsh, ect. I will admit that every time I thought I did not need my camera anymore another great scene came into view.
The nice part about being in the diner car is that when it was time to eat there we were. Plus, I got to try caviar for the first time. I had it in a crepe and now know I NEVER need caviar again….although the crepe was excellent. I have zero complaints about the food served, but some people opted to grab food at the various 20 minutes stops we made each day or use the small boiler in each car to pour hot water into ready-made soup and noodles.
At some point during a 4.5 day trip you are going to want to take a shower and would expect such a long distance train to have at least one, right? Well good luck with that. Luckily I found this out before we boarded and was ready. What I did halfway
through the journey is took a bowl, shampoo, wet wipes, and towel into the head. I used the bowl to pour water over my head while it was over the sink and got my hair wet. I then shampooed my hair and used the bowl to continue to pour water over my head until my hair was rinsed off (note that there is only one temperature….cold). I then dried and combed my hair before I gave myself a good wipe down with the wet wipes. Add to this a shave and clean clothes and you feel like a new man and almost as if you took a regular shower. Almost!
One final thing to know is that all trains in Russia stay on Moscow time instead of switching to the local
time as you pass time zones. This means that when you pull into Vladivostok, at the end of the line, the train says it is 3pm and as soon as you step off the station platform it is 10pm.
Some people stay with Moscow time the whole way, but I adjusted as we passed each time zone and simply had to calculate the posted schedule to the local time. An interesting note is that as soon as the train leaves Russia and into Mongolia the train time jumps to the local time.
On Thursday I will tell you about the bureaucracy of clearing in and out of Russia and Mongolia while aboard the train and then the blog will move into my time traveling to witness the nomadic local life of Mongolia. LIKE me on Facebook, FOLLOW me on Instagram, or SUBSCRIBE to me on YouTube so you can continue to follow my adventures as we explore this last truly nomadic country.
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