Finally it was time to leave the train, i was sad to be leaving our new friends and the calmness but excited to see Siberia. It was 4am and we had arrived in a cold and dark Siberia. Often when you come to a city the first things you see are the outskirts, which are often the worst areas. But you have to pass through it to get to the good bits, a bit like foreplay i guess. So i wasnt that worried when we stepped out of the station to find a grey harsh concrete jungle filled with tramps and drunks. The sun came up around 6am and the thick fog lifted, but it was still very grey, we walked for about an hour right through the heart of the city. Irkutsk was unlike any other city i have been to, there were modern shops and services, but it was like they had been sprinkled randomly by a giant and then left where they landed, so you had a Reebok shop next to a shack, then you would walk through loads of slums and suddenly in the middle there was a United Colours of Bennington. There were no shopping streets and barely anywhere to eat. This place was harsh, we worked out that it was the furthest we had ever been from the sea, it was also the furthest we had ever been from a Mcdonalds, im not sure which one i would miss the most the smell of freshly caught fish or the smell of freshly fried fillet of fish.There were some really impressive houses that looked like they belonged in a western, but they were all in a bad way, leaning or missing windows, it looked a bit like a ghost town. Most of the houses though looked like the kind of dens kids make, they were put together with what ever was around, bits of crate or sheets of metal. And for a while i wondered why there were so many derelict houses, no windows, holes in the roof missing parts all right in the center of the city, then i realised that people where still living in them. As we walked around still trying to find the nice part people would emerge from their pile of rubble they called a house, walk past all the stray dogs just lying around, wander around the giant pot holes, and the piles of rubbish, and then start sweeping the dust on the pavement. It seemed crazy but everyone was doing it, it was a city of procrastinators. I couldnt help but think maybe if they spent less time sweeping and more time fixing the hole in their roof maybe they would smile a bit more. Eventually after hours in the city we stumbled upon a shop called the travellers Coffee Shop. Inside it had plush leather seats, and dark wood furniture, with quiet music playing in the background, i tucked into a Latte and hot muffin which was gorgeous, it was like a little oasis my own little coffee shop bubble where the stray dogs, drunks and beggars couldnt get me. I considered asking if i could just sleep here until it was time to get the train out of here. Eventually we had to leave otherwise we would have had no budget left for the rest of the trip. We found our hostel, a giant concrete block of flats amongst the all the makeshift houses. Our soundproof apartment which was double the price of everywhere else we had stayed, but one of the cheapest i could find, turned out to be just like all the other rooms we had stayed in, but with a tv, and a fridge that sounded like it had an engine from an aeroplane. It wasnt an apartment and it certainly wasnt sound proof. We were so tired after our train journey, because the train runs on Moscow time and we were now 8 hours ahead we had gone 32 hours without any sleep. We used the day to catch up on the boring stuff that travelling involves like sorting onward plans and doing washing. Eventually it was evening and reluctantly we ventured out to get something to eat, i was still searching for some positives to the place, convincing myself we must just have missed the nice parts, hours later we came across a Russian fast food place and decided to eat there as it was the only place we had seen, i should have just eaten my shoe, it would probably have tasted nicer and i could have brought a nice new pair for the amount we paid. As it got dark the streets filled with more and more wrong uns there were drunk people everywhere walking around with home made alcohol in milk bottles. There were a lot of police around but this just made me more nervous. We got back to the hostel in one piece and got some well needed rest. Maybe things would look different in the morning light after a goods night rest.