Trans-Mongolian Diary 7 : Irkutsk to Yekaterinburg

Howdy all, and today my Trans-Mongolian journey continues for you in the seventh part of the adventure. Today, I pick up from where I left off last Wednesday. We had seen yours truly make it to the Siberian city of Irkutsk, and from there a day trip to Lake Baikal and back had been had. Today, I see just what else there was to do in sunny Irkutsk before boarding the train to continue towards the Russian capital of Moscow!

Yep we’re off again! On the way to Yekaterinburg! 5:07 PM – we’re moving along on the same train with an extra two Russian carriages as from Beijing – ie the trans Mongolian! In the restaurant car with Nicole and Stewart again. I went to sleep at around midnight.

[This next bit turns back in time to early in the day. I had a broken zipper on one of my pairs of pants which needed to be fixed as I only had a choice of two!]

The sleep was stop start guy I met told me he was in Irkutsk staying at the hostel for work, which is why he was up till at least 2:00 AM. He was up just before 10:00 AM. Elina couldn’t help with my zip so I finished packing, showered, no shave – I’m letting it grow a bit, will shave it at the next stop. I was pretty much all ready when Eve turned up. Thankfully she had a solution [for the zipper issue] -she found a place near the market and gave them a call. From then on I packed backpack in the staff room and I made my way downstairs. I took the tram which luckily took me exactly where I wanted to go – the market. Eve had showed me a photo of the building and I went inside to a salon.

A lady there led me around the building to the photo’s location. A girl there, Daria, then led me to a small room which was the place – ‘Len Express’ – something like that. Two women in a little office with material everywhere at an old sewing machine. 50 minutes and 200 ruble (around six Australian dollars) wow! Good stuff!

So I had a little free time to complete my adequate sightseeing tour. There were two houses that came under one ticket. Trubetsky and Volkonsky Museum. Both are named after owners in particular – Decembrists as far as I can understand around or in 1825. It was a group of nobles -Princes, rich dudes etc who rose up against the Tsar and lived to regret it. In maybe around 1844 they are partially forgiven and allowed to move back to Irkutsk from where? From the camps or so in the Siberian wilderness!

Another photography ticket – oh well not too expensive I guess. Nice tour of a nice house then onto the Volkonsky house, as I said this house is bigger. Both had stables, this had two glorious floors with a sort of meeting/performance room with a beautiful grand piano. There was a ‘pyramid piano’ in another room, loads of portraits. Right next door the Kazan Church – looked a bit like [on the postcard] this one but pretty sure it’s not.

Right next door anyways, back to the sewing shop. It’s the best! My trousers were ready, snap! Very small room, wonderful service one lady kept saying ‘robota’ to me. ‘Sorat’ on placard signs about the place but not sure what the heck it meant!

Anyways, walked back via the Slata subedpermarket, grab those delicious biccies and a couple of seven days croissants, along with water and chips – plain lays. Yes! Then I stopped at Subway and grabbed a BLT and took it back to the hostel. I had just enough time to blog and repack not to mention upload! No sign of anyone except someone entered and disappeared whilst I was in the kitchen pretty much owning the place!

Outside, time to go – around 3:00 PM. Down the stairs and I walked around a couple of corners to find the tram stop to get to the train station. Very quickly the tram arrived and guess who was on it! Yep good old Stew and Nicole! We made our way to the train station where seemingly hordes of people were packed in to move to the platforms. With 25 minutes to go we all started down the steps and up the steps onto the platform. It had a Chinese carriage – yes! it was again the trans-Mongolian we found ourselves on! The final and Russian last two carriages included a restaurant carriage!

So I have a bolshi lady in my cabin but so far that’s all. We will probably collect more at our first stop zooman in 30 to 40 minutes at a guess. 7:30 PM now, at least it won’t be a stop start affair like the last one. In the restaurant car was Stewart and Nicole. Well a bit of dinner ordered, beer already drunk – Baltika – so for now up to date!

13th of the 5th 2017

The time is 12:42 PM and we are awaiting lunch. I am going to use some of these postcards to spruce up today’s entry! Already used a whole roll of sticky tape! Anyways, I guess I need to start with yesterday. Dinner was my first borscht of the trip and despite being flipping hot it was pretty gosh darn delicious! Needed to get some hleb [bread in Russian] with it though I had two pivos [beers in Russian] Stewart must have had the at least 7. It was nice to wile away some time at the restaurant – just nice that that there is one really!

We wound down after that and the sun was still shining after 9:00 PM. I went to my cabin with my cabin mate reading a big book and made my bed. Wasn’t so easy actually took a little while by 10:00 o’clock or before I was lying in bed, relaxing.

Next Morning

The sun came up and it was, I don’t know eight o’clock AM except that was 7:00 AM as we have finally gone through our first time zone change since Beijing! We pulled into Krasnoyarsk and stopped for well 22 minutes it says on the board. That was probably correct and we picked up two guys in the cabin to take the two top beds.

They were pretty quiet pretty much everyone now on this carriage is Russian, but at dinner last night I had a few Chinese guys from further up the train. We’ve just been saying the food is really good in this restaurant carriage, it’s a pity I guess that others aren’t here to enjoy it with us only one other person was here for lunch.

Listened to some music this morning –  finally ‘Jukebox in Siberia’ came on! The newbies made their beds and then settled into sleep so I didn’t lose any of my space which was nice. At about 11:10 AM I decided to make a move down here to the restaurant car. Time idles away. Green outside plenty of those trees, occasional village, occasional reception on my phone.

Lunch – well I had a sort of beef and potato stew, whilst Nicole and Stewart had borscht. We were all suitably impressed it’s 1:30 PM now and I guess I am up to date I am 26 hours from Yekaterinburg. They are about 7 hours from Novosibirsk which is their next stop we have a bit of rain it’s still quite hot inside the train, will report back later!

5:00 PM we’ve had two stops one in marine sick, 20 minutes. It was raining. I popped across the tracks to get some cherry flavoured Jaffa cake biscuits. Off we went Novosibirsk is up next where Stewart and Nicole alight for the night.

We passed and stopped for two minutes at Tajga, at 4:30 PM putting Nicole and Stuart Novosibirsk at maybe 6:40 PM ish. Lonely Planet says there is another hour difference time zone wise at Novosibirsk, it’s a bit unclear will see aye?

7:20 PM local time still haven’t changed time zones and it seems the Lonely Planet’s wrong about Novosibirsk time zone. It is the one we are in now we’re about 20 minutes from said town just updating the old diary there might move back to the cabin. Chinese guys in the restaurant car having what looks like Russian version of chicken parmigiana. It looks pretty good actually! So we trundle along best to just go by Moscow time. There’s a clock on it (Moscow time) in the restaurant car.

The sun is going down I had noodles for dinner. They were pretty average all told, spicy too and I still feel hungry! bottle of water 150 ruble – that’s a bit steep. So quiet in my cabin, the two guys lying in bed the lady still reading her book. More development now buildings of l’industrie for the last two hours. Really I guess we’re in the outskirts of Novosibirsk as I write. Lots of trucks, rolling stock, factories, pipes above the ground time to retire to the boudoir me thinks!

And that’s where I will leave it today. Next week I complete the train journey and arrive in Yekaterinburg. If you are confused about the stuff I write about ‘Moscow time’ – Russia has nine different time zones, and I think I passed through five to seven of them overall from Beijing to Moscow. Irkutsk was, despite being well west of Beijing still on the same time so it wasn’t until the train journey I have been describing that we moved into a new time zone. The time tables in the train corridors may show the time as it would be in Moscow for stops, or local time. It makes it tricky to know what the time actually is as you travel across this amazing part of the world. Anyways, thanks for reading, take care and May the Journey Never End!

6 thoughts on “Trans-Mongolian Diary 7 : Irkutsk to Yekaterinburg

  1. This train seems to be a good way to explore this part of Russia with the added bonus of being able to meet the locals on the long journeys between the cities.

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