Life on the Rossiya train

Previous page - Leaving Vladivostok on the Rossiya


Sleeping On The Train

Our sleep was fitful. A man in the carriage next to ours was determined to watch his TV for hours so we had a lot of noise from that quarter. The train itself made heaps of noise. Then the noisy TV neighbour started snoring. At one stage a baby was crying but we never actually saw the child. It was quite warm in the compartment so that made sleeping uncomfortable. Goodness knows how we would have slept if we had travelled second class in a Kupe compartment. Second class carriages have four people in them.

Regarding the bedding - all was revealed the next morning when we attempted to close up the beds and covert them into day-time seating. The covering on the mattress that we had left intact last night was, in fact, a bedspread and there was another sheet-envelope underneath it. We then realized we should have slept on top of one of the "envelopes" and used the other as a doona cover and put a blanket inside it in lieu of a doona. We laughed at our own stupidity in never looking under the seat cover. Hopefully when we go to bed tonight we will be more comfortable than the restrictive sheets would allow us to be last night.


The little table where we eat our meals We have our first meal at our little table

We have our first meal on the train

We freshened ourselves up in the little bathroom at the end of our carriage and then set about creating a very limited breakfast. We hacked up some bread we had bought the day before and spread peanut butter and honey on the slices. The bread was none too fresh. We have another loaf of this calibre in our bag too! We were mighty glad we had brought the honey and peanut butter with us from home. We checked out the samovar (hot water urn) and made ourselves some tea which was delicious seeing we hadn't had any for several days. We both felt we could quite easily get used to this very laid back lifestyle.


Bathrooms On The Trans Siberian Train

Really the bathroom is nothing more than a toilet with a wash basin. There is no shower. Fortunately we knew that in advance.

The bathroom on the Rossiya train The washroom on the Rossiya train
The hot water urn or samovar The samovar (hot water urn)

We are managing to wash faces and private parts and that is just about it.

There are two wash rooms side by side on our train. After Ian and I use the wash room we are wiping the sink area down with paper towels each time, thinking that our Russian fellow travellers will follow our routine and keep the place tidier and smarter but I don't think they really care about it being wet and messy. In our compartment we have a large container of Baby Wipes which we are using a fair bit to keep our hands clean and to reduce germs. We must admit the bathroom is more respectable than we expected. But then this is only the start of the journey....


Views From The Windows Of The Rossiya

When we woke up we were travelling through very green countryside. There was lots of grass and trees which we believe to be elms, birches, willows and maples. It was very flat country.

Guards man both ends of bridges Guards stand at either end of this bridge
An unknown railway station Station we pass by on the train









Every time the train goes over a bridge or through a tunnel we notice there are guards at each end of the bridge (or tunnel). They stand in their guard posts with rifles ready and loaded. Can you imagine a more boring job? And why on earth are they there? They are out in the middle of nowhere. Who or what are they guarding?

Army tanks behind the wall There are many army tanks behind the wall
Crossing the river just before Khabarovsk Crossing the river just before Khabarovsk










Arriving in Khabarovsk, Russia

Mid morning we arrived in Khabarovsk. We asked the Provodnitza if she would lock our compartment door so we could hop off the train for a walk around the station area.

She happily did this for us. According to the timetable the train was stopping for half an hour. However, 20 minutes after we clambered off the train it started to move. Luckily we had been cautious and got back on after on after only 15 minutes. A valuable lesson was learned - never trust a Russian timetable. Note the poor condition of the platforms. This is a very common sight. you constantly need to watch your step.


Khabarovsk railway station Khabarovsk station
There were no platforms as we know them Big step up or down at this platform









Since leaving Khabarovsk the landscape has changed. There are still flat areas but we are also seeing small hills. The hills are mostly covered in trees. There are lots of track-side houses, virtually all are in very poor repair. Most have their own vegetable plots but nothing is visibly growing in them yet.

We have seen at least three men doing their wee's track side. They don't even turn their backs away from the train. Perhaps this is reasonable behavior here.

Lunch was more of the "'delectable" dry bread accompanied by some spreadable tuna from a tin we brought with us from Oz.. Tonight we are going down to the restaurant car to buy some dinner. We think we will walk down there very early so we don't miss out on any tasty morsels that might be on offer. We have heard stories about how seriously awful Russian train food is so we want to be there early in order to snap up anything that looks vaguely appetizing.


Next page - Meals on the Rossiya train


Our trip in the order it happened:

Travel Planning Necessities
World time zones, world weather, currency converter, language translator services.

Search over 25,000 hostels.

Trip Advisor Forum - Russia
The place to find information about Russia when you can't find it elsewhere.

Way To Russia
Another very good forum

Getting A Russian Visa
The process is explained

Trains between Moscow & Saint Petersburg
Explanation of the types of trains on that route.

Firmenny Trains
An explanation of what they are.

Moscow's Railway Stations
A map of their locations and proximities.

Learn How To Speak Russian
Free lessons.

Map of St. Petersburg
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Map of Moscow
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Moscow Times Newspaper
English version.

The Russia Club
A forum for all those interested in anything "Russian".

Russian Rail Timetable
It takes a bit of mastering but Ian managed it (eventually).

The Art Of Travel
Very interesting travel information for all locations.

Smart Traveller
Australian Government's site dealing with current travel advice.

Travel Independent
A site written by travellers for travellers. Lots of information.

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Alice Springs

History of ...
Alice Springs

Sunshine Coast Accomm.
200+ resorts, hotels, motels and holiday apartments.