Yes, what do we do during those long hours of train, did ask Annie and Françoise on the blog yesterday? Good question, thank you!
Believe it or not, we never get bored in the trains – The opposite would have been quite disappointing though, as following the Trans-siberian path is precisely about enjoying train trips!
Second thing to do : Secure your place and space
It means you have to find the right seat for you, the right storage for your luggage, the right hook for your coats, the right space for your shoes so that you don’t block trolleys in the alley. You will prepare your passport and ticket for the moment when someone will ask for them, speaking for five minutes. You will smile, and it will be ok.
Third thing to do : Secure your goods
You will be given sheets you will use to envelop your pillow and seat, even when you are not planning to spend the night there. So you make sure your delicate skin and hair do not get contaminated with… whatever.
In addition, you need to make sure you don’t forget important things from your luggage, as you will have no chance to open your suitcase anymore. As a matter of fact, either your suitcase is next to the roof, where a strong guy has helped you to put it and you don’t want to disturb him anymore, or it is in a trunk below the seat of someone else you don’t want to disturb neither. The best is to bring a separate bag where you would have put the vital stuff.
First thing to do : gather the vital stuff in a small bag
It includes touristic items such as: your camera to capture the landscape and the coach atmosphere, the guide book to prepare the next stop of the journey, a conversation guide in case someone would be interested in talking with you about life.
Then you need practical things: flip flaps because everyone removes shoes in the train, pyjamas if you are here for the night, an electric lamp, a book in case you get bored.
And finally you prepare everything you need to eat. Journeys are long, so you will spend at least one meal inside.
A plastic glass for tea, a plastic bowl for soup or noodles, a knife to remove the skin of a cucumber, a spoon, will make the job. Which means you have bought pirochkis at te railway station and deshydrated food at the supermarket.The train provides hot water. The magic of samovars…
Fourth thing to do: eat
You’ve spent so much time preparing everything that eating is gonna be the highlight of your journey, that for sure. Sometimes, your neighbors will offer you food, and you will do the same. Please, be polite.
Fifth thing: have a rest
Yep, every previous step was synonym with new challenges and mysteries to overcome: how to I open the samovar? How am I not gonna burn myself with that boiling water I have to bring back to my seat? How am I gonna flush the toilets? How am I gonna open the door of the toilets without putting my hand on it? How am I gonna wash my bowl without waking up one more time? How am I gonna reach the upper bed without showing my fat ass to everyone?
So obviously you need to take a nap.
Fifth step: enjoy
You wake up, you look at the window, and, best case scenario, you interact with people.
The best moment we had was when we left Tobolsk. Two young guys, working for an oil company and going back home for the week-end, decided to talk to us, after a long phase of observation. First we exchanged our passports, that was fun, and then they tried to teach us how to play cards. Of course, their English was very limited and we didn’t understand anything. But this was really super nice.