Up 4am - awesome breakfast in room - pick up 530am at station by 545am for 645am train.
Train 75 mins late but modern and very comfortable cabin - got TV but all in Russian! No universal electric sockets! Aaaaaaah, can't charge my Mac and watch movies! Other than that pretty smooth ride.
More Aussies onboard! Can't get away from them! Gary from Brizzy into rugby so good chats about State of Origin tonight back in Oz.
Cabin attendants most miserable people on the planet. If they smile I'm convinced their faces will crack! A lot of Russians unwilling or maybe unable to engage at even the 'hello'. Probably still think we're western, capitalist pigs come to corrupt their youth. Pity as their country is awesome. Wonder if they'll be more engaging the farther west we go?
Of the few guides etc that we have managed to chat to its clear Gorbachev and Yeltsin are not held in high regard by ordinary Russians and many, especially older generations miss the old days! During early, mid 90s when things were really tough there was no cash to pay people! Stories of people working in nail factories being paid in nails!
Landscape is endless forests: silver birch, other deciduous, pine - typical small, wooden villages. This place is huge! Moscow 5 hours behind Irkutsk and 2 behind Yekaterinburg. Full Trans Siberian train: Vladivostok to Moscow takes 6 days! Crosses 5 time zones!
Amazing fresh breakfast of omelette, toast, croissants, pancakes and jam, fresh fruit salad, cheeses and meats, warm rolls, juice, tea, cappuccino came to our hotel room at 5 am . A good start to the long train journey ahead of 2 days and 2 nights - unfortunately train running late and had one & half hour wait.
First class cabin with the Russian trains is higher standard than Chinese trains as newer. Excellent comfort, higher quality bedding, TV (with 3 Russian channels), music with headphone access, room service from the restaurant carriage but no little room with a basin like the Chinese first class, but two toilets at the end of each carriage with chemical disposal like on aircraft with disposal seat covers!
One wonders where the time goes on these long trips but before you know it it's time for lunch ! We spend time talking to people on the train in the corridors where most people stand looking out the opposite window to their cabin, blogging, listening to audio books, snoozing, getting off the train when allowed to stretch our legs, and looki at the food for sale that the locals come down to the platform with. Some foods look home made and delicious but not game to buy as have no idea how many times they have bought the same food down to the platform that week!! Last thIng one wants is a tummy bug on a train!! We are more game to eat fresh fruit and veges now we have left China and Mongolia where the only water is recycled and can not be drunk. We have certainly kept the bottled water industry afloat over here and our UV water purifier has been a superb buy.
Still in Siberia, Eastern Russia, and landscape continues to be vast areas of Silver Birch and Pine trees, some cleared land for pasture, minimum number of stock sighted and occasional small settlements along the railway.
Major train stations are getting bigger the closer we get it Moscow. and saw some major graffiti for the first time since arrived.
No trouble sleeping on the trains - so relaxing./calming.