After our lovely time enjoying Siberian nature we boarded the train bound for Irkutsk. We were in two minds about overnight journeys on trains. On the one hand, we enjoyed an evening of watching out of the window while the sunset, but on the other hand, in the hours spent asleep we were missing out on a fair amount of Russian countryside even if most of it was just trees. To avoid sleeping ao much on trains we would have had to make a lot more stops or accept arriving into a Russian city in the middle of the night. Despite this we will still have only spent 5 nights on trains all the way from Saint Petersburg to Ulan Ude. Another thing we were wondering about was what kind of neighbours we would have. We were now pretty certain that they would all be Russian but we were hoping more for the family atmosphere rather than construction workers. Luckily, most of the train disembarked at Krasnoyarsk and we got on with a large group of 6-8 year old gymnasts. The train was also a little better than we expected, it seemed more luxurious, with padded seats and even had radio throughout the carriage.
The scenery from the train was probably some of the best we have had with more river valleys and views across the landscape. It’s also turning quite autumnal so all over there are trees turing golden, red and bronze. Our gymnast neighbours were tucked up in bed by 9pm and our carriage was very quiet. Our final night sleeping on Russian trains passed peacefully and we both woke up excited to finally arrive into Irkutsk. We weren’t excited about Irkutsk but we were keen to discover Lake Baikal.