After leaving Kazan, we have been almost only on trains. Things took an interesting twist when the train station in Kazan was packed with people at 430 am, at which we fretted the train would be packed. What actually was going on was that a batch of new military recruits was reporting for duty for the first time, and all of their friends and relatives came to see them off. That first train(second, counting the one from moscow) was another russian 'fancy' FIRM train. Here we met our first, and so far only, compartment companion, who regaled us with stories of how his brother and sister caught huge fish in norway, while he bored himself to sleep catching tiny fish in his home town of Ekaterinburg. The biggest tangiable difference in that train, versus the two subsequent 'normal' trains, besides being newer, was that there was an electrical outlet in each compartment, quite handy, as well as a tv with sporadic signal of the three russian state channels, not so handy. There might be some difference in the quality of the restaurants cars too, but that we will never know, as the FIRM trains provided us airplane style meals, so we chose not to go to the restaurant car, and we ate norwegian camping food on the other train. Our stop in ekaterinburg, or sverdolovsk, was brief and intense, enough to leave the train station and eat some soup and salad. The train from then on to novosibirsk was 'authentic' yet unremarkable, although our carriage attendant was the meanest yet(and the one before was the nicest, although by now I am starting to mix them up). Arriving in novosibirsk, a city only coming into existence thanks to the transsiberian line(thus its name, new siberian) was only to try to find the quickest way out of there, and on to our next destination. However, this was not meant to be and we made our way to a hostel we had chosen. There, ironically, we met two russian youths who were on their way to take a bus to tomsk, which just happened to not be mentioned on the bus timetable we had recieved. Nevertheless, we got to spend the night in novosibirsk, encountering the great massiveness of a proper russian supermarket, with cold beers, smoked fish, and frozen berries as far as the eye could see, as well as meet a professional biathlonist, who wanted to do absolutely anything, from going out to party, to just playing chess, so that when I said we would go to sleep, he said 'sleep 30 minutes or maybe sleep 3 hours?" Alas, we slept through the night and Mr. Giant Russian guy had to find another way to pass his friday night. So now we are on our way to the bus station, to try to get to tomsk, where who knows what further (mis)adventures await...