On the way to Baikal

The Trans- Siberian Railway starts in Moscow and only till Irkutsk it crosses 5 time zones through around 5000 km in 4 day nonstop ride. We broke this route down to get the new food supplies, stretch the legs and feel the daily life outside the train window by stopping in a few cities during our 7 day journey. We started in Vladmir from where we wanted to get to Kazan. The route goes through Nizny Novgorod, where we had to spend half day before taking the night train to Kazan. We left our bags on the station and hit the town.

Nizhny Novgorod (aka Nizny)

After 3 hours in the train, our first impression when we got out of the station was’ where am I? Very busy and messy side of the town, with huge market place and kebab shops seemed not to be the best place to hang out, but 10 minutes later by trolleybus, the other side of the river looked much different.  We stayed there enjoying the clifftop Kremlin with its view over the Oka River and one of the pedestrian streets with local performers and street scammers inviting people to compete in a challenge, which surprisingly was quite a popular thing.

Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin
Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin
Nizhny Novgorod Bolshaya Pokrovskaya street
Nizhny Novgorod Bolshaya Pokrovskaya street
Nizhny street artist at Bolshaya Pokrovskaya steet
Nizhny street artist at Bolshaya Pokrovskaya steet

Kazan

After another smooth 8 hour night ride, we woke up in Kazan

First time when taking the overnight train from Saint Petersburg to Moscow, we were wondering if it’s safe to travel in platskart but the answer is definitely yes, it is. In the carriage there are only passengers with valid tickets and assigned places approved by provadnitsa. There is a place to store your luggage under or above the seats. And last but not least, this is not a party on the wheels as some legends say, we could hardly see anybody drinking and if they did they’re rather hiding with this.  We met couple of foreigners travelling in platskart and all of them were very enthusiastic about it on contrary to many Russians. 🙂

Back to Kazan, It is a pretty and clean city starting from the elegant train station, with walking distance to major historical attractions like Unesco listed Kremlin with Mosque and Cathedral and the city center. Apart from that we found some nice spots to drink beer and canteens for lunch.

Kazan Railway Station
Kazan Railway Station
Kazan Mosque at Kremlin
Kazan Mosque at Kremlin
Kazan inside the Kremlin Mosque
Kazan inside the Kremlin Mosque
Kazan Kremlin
Kazan Kremlin
Kazan city center
Kazan city center

Next day we took another night train to Yekateringburg accompanied by the bunch of kids travelling from dance festival, who were keeping us entertained until they crashed.

Kids on the way to Yekaterinburg
Kids on the way to Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg

The city is located on the border of Europe and Asia and it’s known as a place where the last Russia’s tsar was executed by Bolsheviks. The city is a mixture of modern and historical sites with lots of social life along the City Pond and the Iset River. We had again around half day between the trains and we spent it well in amazing Uzbek restaurant and chilling at the pond before catching ride to Novosibirsk.

Yekaterinburg Church upon the Blood at Romanov Death Site
Yekaterinburg Church upon the Blood at Romanov Death Site
Yekaterinburg chess players at the Istorichesky Skver in parkland alongside the river
Yekaterinburg chess players at the Istorichesky Skver in parkland alongside the river
 Yekaterinburg city pond
Yekaterinburg city pond
Yekaterinburg chapel in the city center
Yekaterinburg chapel in the city center

Novosibirsk

This 3rd biggest city in Russia and the unofficial capital of Siberia is a busy city with the communistic architecture focused on Lenin square. Well to be honest we didn’t find any highlights about this city, maybe apart from the hot shower on the train station that after 21 hours in train was highly appreciated.

Novosibirsk Lenins square
Novosibirsk Lenin square
Novosibirsk Chapel of St-Nicholas in the middle of the bustling street
Novosibirsk Chapel of St-Nicholas in the middle of the bustling street
Novosibirsk Lenins statue
Novosibirsk Lenin statue

The real top highlight of this week was the life we shared with our fellow passengers in the platskart and the time spent in the train going with its own rhythm consisted of different rituals like drinking instant ‘3 in 1’ coffee or eating Chinese noodle soup; having breaks on the platform for a smoke and buying some goodies from the locals until provadnitsa will give the sign to get on board again; making new friends and having long conversations through google translate; sleeping; playing all the possible games including a card game called ‘Durak’ or simply gazing through the window.

New friend from Indonesia
New friend from Indonesia
New friends from Uzbekistan
… and from Uzbekistan
Killing time during the long ride
Killing time during the long ride
Life aboard the train
Life aboard the train

It’s surely unforgettable experience and great stories to tell over a drink once back home…

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8 Comments

  1. Very nice… Also share some lighter moments/experiences that you come across. I also like this train journeys very much. Keep going..

  2. It’s inspiring…I always wanted to have the courage to do something like that but I guess it takes special people to do it :). Keep enjoying, learning and living. Beijinhos grandes para os dois 😉

    1. Obrigado Mica! It’s never too late, it also took us some time to make this decision but it was totally worth it! Bjs

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