Here we were at Irkutsk about to board the train for 3 full days and nights, loaded up with fresh produce from the market, vodka and anything else we could possibly need.

Once settled into our cabin we did the usual stare out the window for about an hour or so. Its either that, read, eat, sleep or drink.


Sunset on Night One

First night on board, James and myself decided to eat in the restuarant car, as we decided to put ourselves on Moscow time (4 hours difference) from the beginning to put the body clocks in order. One of our fellow travellers joined us and then we were joined by a Russian called Ivan, or as we referred to him (Ivan the Terrible).

Ivan was well and truly drunk by the time we came across him. At least he was providing us shots of Vodka for free. He was also trying to convince us that the nudes shots on his camera phone were of him and his girlfriend. To us it looked like any porn you could download and the quality of the photo was too good to be a phone photo. We just agreed with him to shut him up! After a good hour of vodka shots, he was finally escorted to his cabin by security. Unfortunately good old Ivan decided to come back again for more shots. One shot later the security came and got him again. Didnt return this time, so whether they knocked him out to keep him quiet we will never know!

A few more drinks for us, then we staggered back to our cabin, I probably staggered more than anyone else. Woke up not feeling all that flash and with the other people not putting themselves on Moscow time we were woken up at 6am Moscow time, even though it was 10am real time. It was a very long day, hangover and all, plus not really being able to shower apart from using wet ones doesnt make things all that comfy.


Train Memorial at Marinsk Station

Joining a couple of people from our trip in their cabin during the day for chatting, staring out the window for potential photos, a small boy by the name of Nikita seemed to be having a ball playing with Scott (tour leader) by shooting him down with his toy gun, enjoying our snack foods (nothing like giving a small boy lots of sugar for energy in a small confined area) and just generally being a nuisance, in a good way though. Nikita was adorable and about 7 years old I think. Always smiling and talking, even it was only in Russian and we had no idea what he was talking about.


The Boys and Sasha. Still don’t remember much.

That night the extra person in that cabin woke from his slumber and decided it was time to share some Vodka and Cognac. The person is the infamous Sasha, man of the head gash from the night before and grazed knuckles like you have never seen. Who knows what he did the night before. Well before too long we were knocking back large shots of Cognac followed by dark chocolate. The more we had the better it tasted but isnt that always the case? Once that bottle ran out, the vodka was opened and from there things got decidedly ugly and hazy. Sasha passed out, while I was still going strong. Victory to the Aussie over the Russian. Who would have thought I could drink a Russian under the table?

The only thing I can remember from that point was throwing up. Thankfully I had some good people around me, who helped me clean up, rinse my clothes (Shorts and top) and get me to my cabin and bed. Cant remember too many other details outside of that. Waking up in the morning, whilst I may have looked a bit pale I had no hangover effects however, I was feeling very sheepish around my fellow cabin mates and apologised profusely and thanked them all for there help.


As another day passes, we watch the sun set.

Bringing us to day 3 on the train, I pretty much nana napped my way through the day, eating very little and drinking mass amounts of water to get my fluids back up. No drinking that night on the train. Thinking 2 nights of drinking was more than sufficent and i didnt want to test the boundaries of frienship too much further. I think my cabin mates appreciated that.

Waking up in the morning it was such a relief to almost feel back to normal, especially knowing we only had a few hours to train travel to go before arriving in Vladimir. The day went quite quickly and it was just such a relief to get off the train, waving goodbye to everyone on the platform as we exited the station before boarding a private bus to Suzdal (Part of the Golden Circle of Russian cities) for about 30 minutes.


Overlooking the trains at Ekateringburg Station