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Trans-siberian blog life onboard

Life On Board Trans-Siberian

Life on Board the Trans-Siberian Train

One of the first things that hits you at the beginning of your Trans-Siberian tour is the size of your cabin. Nevertheless by the time you have sorted all your nick knacks into all the cubby holes and made a nice cup of tea from the constant hot water of the samovar, you start feeling settled in. As the train moves out of the station most of your thoughts turn to relaxing and the view that soon becomes dark as you move out of the city. Even though the beds are quite hard, I was soon rocked to sleep by the motion of the train. Still had I known the beds were so hard I would have brought a camping mat. Another thing you’re not expecting is breaking in the middle of the night which jolts you out of your sleep. But over the next few days, you soon become used to this and fall quickly back to sleep.

Night Time Encounters on the Trans-Siberian Train

Also a definite must for night time are pyjamas. These are good for a few reasons; firstly if you are awake with excitement or chatting to people, you can throw a coat on and nip out on platforms at night stops. Platforms are a whole new world at night. Secondly no one wants to meet someone on the way to the loo in their pants! As lovely as you might be, when your half asleep and half dressed, someone waving “hi” and grinning from ear to ear, can be scary! It is also worth remembering that the noises you hear when the train is stopped are the metal underneath cooling and not the people in the other room being frisky!! Though sometimes you maybe unsure – this is not so much the mile high club, as the mile an hour club!!! No one cares what you look like or do as long as your friendly. I spent a lot of time going up and down the train. The doors between carriages are quite an adventure!! I’m sure many people jumped when a little English woman (me) popped her head round their door saying “ooo! more English speaking people”. This works very well for hot chocolate and soup swaps!

Daily Routine on the Trans-Siberian Train

Upon waking filling your hot flask provided in every cabin from the samovar (this cools at longer stops) is an important start to the day. Sitting and enjoying the view over tea or coffee is so much nicer than your normal morning rush. And as always the first topic of the day is where we are and what time is it. Closely followed by where did the people in cabin 3 go and who are the people in cabin 4? As people get on and off mostly at night there is always new people to get to know. All this can be done with your door closed or open. We were always concerned of missing something so mostly had our door open. After however long you like you can dress for the adventures of the day. Flip flops are also a good idea as they are easy to put on for toilet trips and floors can be wet. I also take towels everywhere I go. Even if I’m staying in a hotel I carry a hand towel when going out for the day as they are so useful, I have required them for covering my shoulders when in cathedrals, sitting on, drying my feet after a paddle and so on.

Trans-Siberian Train Dining Cars

A great place to hang out is always the dining car. Cars and staff change from country to country. The food, staff and environment of the Chinese and Mongolian cars are lovely, and they spoke English. They have no problem with you sitting with one cup of tea for hours. The Russian car was very different. The staff were “to the point”, didn’t like you just sitting (this might have been because they were all just sitting around) and at about 9pm disco lights and music comes on (very odd). They don’t like you taking photos or just hanging around. This however is just one car on one train. Remember that people and situations are different for every train.

Article written by Louisa Howard and originally posted by Headseast: 9th May 2014

This is the third in a series of 5 articles written by guest blogger Louisa Howard who recently completed a Trans-Siberian tour with us from Moscow to Shanghai via the Trans-Mongolian, Beijing and Xian.

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