Passing into Russia. First impressions.
Trip Start Jul 11, 2005
62Trip End Apr 04, 2006
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Russia: mysterious dark continent, remote, inaccessible to foreigners, inexplicable even to natives. That is the myth, encouraged by Russians themselves, who would prefer that on one discover who they really are and how they really live.
- Robert Kaiser, Russia: The People and the Power (1984)
· Baikal Region, Siberia, Russia
· Prague time +7hrs
· Days to get to Prague - 19
The love affair with the train continues
I called this entry 'First Impressions'. Well, we've only spent a few hours in Russia so far, all confined to a train carriage. So this might be a quick entry.
As previously stated we barely made the train in Ulaan Baatar that was to take us to Irkutsk in Russia. But having done so it wasn't long before we were longing for the comforts of the previous carriage we occupied on route from Hohhot in China to Ulaan Baatar. I never thought, having first laid eyes on that compartment, that we'd ever long for it and its doggy, albeit cosy, decor..... but there you go. Let's just say this one wasn't as homely. Or as warm. But, all said, it still beats hard seat travel and quickly recalling that trip but us in better mood and allowed us to wonder what lay ahead in Russia. Truth be told I had been wondering what lay ahead in Russia for as long as I've wanted to travel. Why I can't quite explain it. Hopefully my time in Russia will explain that one. Myself and the Henkster were both in agreement that it was good we were going to have a bit more time in Russia than we did in Mongolia, or Ulaan Baatar, which is essentially all that our Mongolian experienced entailed. Not that we would have seen anymore than we did had we more time. Nope, we were quite content with our Mongolian lot.
Can we have our customs forms, please?
There wasn't much to report from the first leg of the trip from Ulaan Baatar to the Russian boarder. We spent the evening just hanging around our train compartment, trying not to piss anyone off and wondering when we were going to reach the boarder. I was anxious to have my first interaction with a 'real' Russian, even if it was going to be a boarder guard. But just like the train trips we had up to now everything seemed to drag on and eventually
The Siberian Landscape
So with the boarder check out of the way we awoke the next morning to our first obscured views of Russia and the Siberian landscape. A new country, the 3rd we've entered since leaving Korea some 2 weeks ago.