Distance so far: 6582 km, -25 C, pitch darkness, stars. Just a few night time updates.. I had to strip right off this afternoon as the temperature on board my carriage was about 30 C. I was impressed that my carriage attendant understood how I felt and said he could turn down the heat, but I have only just worked out how. He has opened the roof panel above the toilet at the end of the carriage, stuffed a blanket inside and jammed the door open with the giant pair of chop sticks (actually used to unblock the toilet)..Somehow this […]

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Distance so far: 5962 km, -22 C, sunny This morning I woke at a place called Ishim. Our direction has obviously included a bit of South as well as East over the last 24 hours as it was light at 08.00 Moscow time today. Looking at the map we are in fact very close to the border with Kazakhstan. My daily routine starts with a trip to “Little Russia”, our restaurant carriage, for ham and eggs. This morning I spotted someone having sausage and scrambled eggs, so I took a photo and showed it to the lady who takes the […]

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Distance so far: 4207km, -21 C, freezing fog. Morning! I woke at dawn today (that’s about 09.30 Moscow time) – just in time to try getting off the train for the first time at the stop in Kirov. The drill is that the carriage attendant gets kitted up, enters the outer compartment of the carriage (unheated) and opens the door. He then gets down, scrapes off the ice, sweeps away the snow, and wipes the handles so you can get off safely. All you need to do is agree how long the stop is for – but I’m not trusting […]

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Nizhiny Novgorod

Distance so far – 3962km, -19 C, clear and very dark. I finally set off on the Trans-Mongolian this evening after a busy final day in Moscow. One of my biggest nightmares was of course missing the train (it goes just once a week), and for a moment I nearly did. Alexie and I had a quick Georgian dinner (rather special veal and pork dumplings) and as a consequence we then spent and hour and a half in a typically huge traffic jam back to Yaroslavsky station. Anyway, it worked out okay thanks to Victor, our driver, who must have […]

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IronKeys & moneybelts

All my documents safely stored on my 2GB IronKey I’m back at Toad Hall today after a few days in London. On Friday I collected my passport (now with all four visas) and my paper Trans-Siberian rail tickets for my journey as far as Beijing. It feels like I’m almost there with the planning now.. Before I packed up my trip dossier for the final time today I scanned and copied all my important documents. I have decided on a three fold system in case I lose something, or worst case, have it stolen. Firstly, I have a spare copy […]

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Moscow time

My trusty Breitling “Aerospace” watch One of my greatest Trans-Siberian nightmares (at least of the realistically possible ones) is being left behind in the middle of nowhere with all my gear still on the train trundling towards Mongolia. Apparently it does happen, normally when people get off in search of food and get either cut off or distracted from the right platform. There are no hoots or whistles – it just departs. Having once had to run for a moving train (Inter Rail, Nice – Bologna, 1986), I’m not sure if I’m now in good enough shape to catch it […]

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