Our train to Siberia 

Checking out late from our guesthouse we set off back to Vladimir from Szudal. After waiting for 20 minutes at the wrong bus stop we opted to walk the 2km to the bus station. Our bus to Vladimir was just as old as the one there and unfortunately we had seats over the wheel arch which were pretty uncomfortable. Back in Vladimir, we had a couple of hours to kill before our train. We made the most of these by going for dinner in a Pelmeni restaurant. Pelmeni are pasta stuffed with a variety of fillings, very similar to tortellini. We tried a dish of both meat and salmon pelmeni and also tried some Khinkali (Georgian tortellini). It was a very yummy meal and prepared us well for the train ride ahead.

We boarded our next train at 8:30pm and would arrive into Perm at 3:30pm local time (2 hours ahead of Moscow time) the following day. The train was almost identical to the first with brown coloured beds and we were travelling 3rd class again. The carriage was pretty hot and unlike our first train this one had electronic boards to display the time and temperature inside the train; this read 24 degrees when we boarded. Our neighbours for the journey consisted of 3 Russian ladies and one empty bed. They all seemed friendly enough, but like the rest of the train they were all resting or sleeping. We made our beds and hoped for a nice quiet night. The train was full but did quieten down after around 10pm. The ride wasn’t quite as smooth as the first and unfortunately two snoring fat men kept Zoë awake for a while. At least now we have learnt to keep the ear plugs somewhere handy.

A couple of the billions of birch trees along the railway line

We woke up around 6:30am with the sunrise, as the blinds were not down. While everyone else seemed to still be asleep we prepared our breakfast. We had brought a variety of pastries with us and a large supply of tea bags. Each carriage has a water boiler at the end and hot water is free of charge. We later saw someone bringing the wood to keep our water boiler going. It’s certainly worth bringing a mug on board with you. We both have our hydaways which are collapsible silicon bottles that are great for both hot and cold drinks.

One of the water boilers on the train

From early morning until 3:30pm is a long time to look out of a train window. Having read and heard about the transiberian we were hoping for some nice scenery and views of the Russian countryside. With any journey across Russia inevitably you spend half of the time on the train asleep. We hadn’t quite expected 8 hours of passing by tree after tree after tree. In fact on this journey trees and train stations were pretty much all that we saw. Our lunch was a trial run for the other meals we would eat on the trains. We tried some instant meals which either consist of noodles or instant potato mash. They weren’t too bad but we knew we would be craving some real food after a few instant meals. Finally our journey came to an end and we arrived in Perm, the city named after the word ‘Permian’ meaning far away.  We definitley agree, it’s a long way away. 

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