Towards the East – The Trans-Siberian Railway

Towards the East – The Trans-Siberian Railway
12 February 2017

For quite some time I have the wish to travel across Russia with the by Tsar Nicholas II built railway. I would like to learn more about the Russian landscape, and about the daily life in different Russian cities. Therefore, traveling by Trans-Siberian Express all the way to Vladivostok seems very interesting to me.

I started determining which route I wanted to travel. Via Moscow, Novosibirsk and Irkutsk I would head all the way East to Vladivostok. In this way, I would be visiting a varied range of cities. From Saint-Petersburg to Moscow I have chosen to travel sitting instead of platzkart since this is cheaper.

Not knowing for sure whether it would be possible to buy train tickets for the entire route in one town, I went to the Moskovsky railway station. When you enter the Moskovsky railway station, one of the first things you will notice is the wall on the left side of the waiting hall. This wall shows an overview of all the destinations, accessible by train from this railway station. To buy tickets, you have to walk through the hall and go again outside to hall 2, a separate hall where tickets desk are located. On a piece of paper I had written down the cities I am planning to visit, including possible departure and arrival times. This is helpful because at home you can at ease figure out which bed in which wagon you would like to have. I tried a ticket window and showed the woman behind it how many train tickets I needed. She was almost closing, apologized, and sent me to another desk.

The Trans-Siberian Railway

Again a woman sat behind the ticket window. To proceed the purchase of my tickets, she needed my passport. I handed her my passport, forgetting that I therein keep the tickets of museums I had visited. When she saw the tickets, she took them out and gave them back to me using the rotary flap. I apologized, but that was not necessary. She asked me: “are you just travelling or why do you want to visit all these cities?” I answered that I would like to see different places in Russia. She nodded understandingly and asked me, while she was smiling, why I had visited an old submarine – the submarine entrance ticket had fallen out from my passport. I answered that it seemed interesting to me. That answer satisfied her and she recommended me several other museums in the city. After she emphasized that all arrivals and departures were according to Moscow time, I walked home very satisfied.

Well, this was just the anticipatory pleasure. The countdown to the journey can begin!

Written by Luuk Winkelmolen, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Saint-Petersburg

Posted by Luuk Winkelmolen

Hello, my name is Luuk Winkelmolen. I am a Dutch Human Geography student from Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. I am currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Language Centre in Saint-Petersburg. Some years ago I started to get interested in Russian history and culture, and after that I started to get familiar with the Russian language. In 2015 I studied Russian at the Dutch Institute in Saint-Petersburg. This was the first time I actually lived and studied in Russia. This was a great experience, so I decided to return to Russia and especially to the city of Saint-Petersburg, in order to live there again for a few months and to feel myself a little bit Russian again.

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