We had our first train experience! Vadim ensured we were all happily settled into our new cabin before waving us off to Moscow. Considering how tired everyone was yesterday, we got into our teeny tiny cabin and nobody wanted to sleep – this was far too exciting!
I need to start by emphasising just how small these cabins are. They are tiny. I’m of reasonably average height and if I stretched I’d be able to touch all four walls without moving. My Tom and Florine (who are both very tall) can easily touch all four walls without moving. We tried to keep the place tidy by squeezing our rucksacks under the bottom bunks – this got me into a state of histerical laughter, if we couldn’t fit everything into this room for one overnight trip, how were we going to manager on our four day stretch?!
After a few minutes of ‘twister in the cabin’ everyone was settled on their bunks, beds made (well, kind of) and we were happily chatting away, discussing our tastes in music, taking it in turns with Aussie Tom’s Bluetooth speaker and thoroughly enjoying our little cabin. Then one of the train conductors came in asking if we’d like any drinks; water, beer, wine, snacks? Well this was the icing on the cake! How excited we were to order two beers, a red and a white wine! And then we paid 2000 rubles for the pleasure – *gulp* – just a tad expensive… note to self; buy alcohol from the supermarket for future train journeys.
Florine opened a tin of spicy nuts, me a bag of minstrels – which neither Aussie Tom nor Florine had ever tried! – and there were were, cosy and happy watching the snow covered scenery pass us by, on route to Moscow.
The entire rest of the carriage were silently snoozing whilst we chatted away into the early hours. When we finally decided it was time to get some sleep, a couple of hours later, the rest of the carriage decided it was time to get up. I half slept, half choked on the heating, surrounded by the chatter of Chinese voices for the remainder of the journey. When the train pulled into Moscow the carriage emptied in a flash! There was us bleary-eyed westerners stuffing everything back into our bags and being the last ones off the train to greet Sasha, our new honcho. She did say she was a bit worried when all the Chinese people got off the train and nobody else followed. Don’t worry Sasha! We’re here, just a bit tired and a bit slow.
English Tom didn’t sleep well at all. He’d decided he was going to try the top bunk and let’s just say I don’t think they’re made for people who are 6 ft 4. I felt guilty as I’d booked the trip and knowing there were many more nights in tiny train cabins to come, thought “maybe this wasn’t the best trip to book for a tall person?”… I’ve promised him the bottom bunk in future. It’ll be fine. The scenery will be totally worth it.
We got the the hostel for about 7.30am and all had a good nap – some are still sleeping as I’m writing this – before we go and explore on our first day in Moscow.