Transsiberian Moscow – Irkutsk

On Monday the 12th of July we met with the two Russian girls who showed us Moscow’s day and night life at the trains station Jaroslaver which is directly located at the really beautiful metro station Komsomólskaja.

After finding the right wagon it we could get our stuff into our new “home” for the next 4 days.
We left Moscow and tried to make the cabin as comfortable as possible.
Shortly after the start of the journey we got known to a Fin couple who are doing the same trip. Meanwhile Martin became friend with a few Russians guys who invited us for vodka and dinner. This was one of the most intensive experiences with the Russian culture I every had. Vodka mixed with water (a liquid with 96% of alcohol is not drinkable) and dried fish were served.

The next days have been more chilled. I was enjoying the landscape and was reading a lot but the trip should not end in peace.
Because the trip was ending and a few Swedish travellers I have met where already sitting in the dining wagon, we joined them. During the two hours someone checked our cabin and took away my camera! – Fucking hell!
I told the head of the wagon what had happened and she immediately informed the police who came on the train at the next station. Luckily I found a Russian girl who was fluent in English and German on the train who acted as a translator. After half an hour discussion that I have to come back for a certification of the burglary, I received a handwritten one by the policeman. The interesting part on this story is, that nothing else was stolen! Neither a notebook or another camera, just my camera bag with my Canon EOS 30D and all the photo equipment I was having with me.

Never the less, the journey is going on and I already bought a new one…

Living on the train:
The train system just works in Moscow time! This means that the arrival and departure times at all train stations and on the tickets always show the time of Moscow, nevertheless if there are 4 or 5 time zones between!
In the train, most of the Russians just try to get drunk and smoke a lot! The train is not a transportation system for the rich people so you just get in contact with a low society what means no shower, no English and just drinking!
Normally there are a few people from other countries who meet in the evening in the dining room. Because of passing five time zones till Irkutsk you quickly loose control over your day! First day off the train was quite tough based on the jet lag.
Electricity is found at the end of each wagon and you can charge your mobile phones, cameras, notebooks, etc. for free. Normally this does not get stolen, but after my experience I would recommend to stay with your belongings!

Some advises for the transsiberian railway:

Food and Drinks: Each wagon has got a boiler where you get free hot water! Before you get in the train try to get some coffee and tea with you. We also bought some instant soup which turned it as a really good meal in combination with the stuff you can by during the stops.
The train stops several times a day, and normally there are two or three stops with more than 20 minutes. People are selling food and drinks during this time! – Beer isn’t much cheaper than in the train, but you get good bread and sausages at the gates.

Having a shower: You need two empty PET-bottles and the normal stuff. Fill the bottles one third with the hot water from the boiler and fill the rest up with cold water from the toilet. Normally the cork of the floor in the toilet is already missing so you can start cleaning yourself!
I would recommend to have some flip flops or slippers with you because the hygiene in a toilet of the transsib is another discussion!