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Last night we caught the Trans-Mongolian railway from Moscow to Beijing
So this morning I woke up to this (and it’s been like that for the last 4 hours)
Then occasionally a town appears
So I lost my thread I’ll repost the pictures. Here is the restaurant, the food is amazing! The food is all fresh and home made
Here’s the 3rd class carriages
And first , where we are.
Here’s the beautiful cups we got to make our tea and chocolate on the train ❤️
These were the stops last night
So UPDATE - this morning this is what I woke up to! It is SO beautiful!
And here’s Elena the lovely women who runs out carriage - here she is giving us ice cream. The staff are wonderful ! She works with her husband Igor - he’s been so nice to us
Right now we’re arriving in Omsk . This is a river
And here’s us in our matching Christmas onesies
People are asking and it’s the most amazing thing we have ever done! Please can British Rail hire Igor and Elena - they are wonderful.
And yes - we have WiFi. The train is really modern, clean and wel equipt. We’re watching War and Peace on an IPad! When we’re not watching the view
We made it to OMSK! Happy Christmas! @RobbieRinder
So in Omsk it was -26oC!
FREEZING! Luckily I had my onsie on
This is what it it’s like when you’re just breathing
Omsk looked fascinating! But we only had half an hour, and were worried about missing the train so we just ran about and grabbed our Xmas day lunch
Now we’re back on the train! It’s so warm! So we’re all tucked up and cozy with Igor and Elena looking after us. So far so beautiful... but it’s starting to get dark already
So - for Christmas Day breakfast we went to the restaurant had hot pancakes with Caviar, Asti and cold herring. And here’s @RobbieRinder with his present from me
And he got me these beautiful earrings
Ok IMPORTANT - loads of people are asking me about prices etc. We organised our trip through these guys - twitter.com/headseast they sorted everything: the hotel’s in Moscow, the yurt we’ll be staying in in Mongolia (!) our place for NYE in Beijing . Can’t recommend them enough
We seem to have a series of short one minute stops now. Not a whole lot to see - and no real time to get off. We keep passing time zones so hours are flying by. It’s almost 8pm here now
Igor has come to clean our carriage - he said he loves our matching Christmas onsies
Ok I’m SO sorry Russia but for Xmas day lunch we had... KFC
We’ve arrived in Barabinsk in siberia. There are little glowing booths on the platform and women selling dried fish from bags. The snow is knee high at the side of the platform
I bought these weird little pancake things. They were frozen solid but they’ve thawed now. They taste of fish - maybe someone can tell me what’s in them - they’re quite nice!
We don’t have another stop for hours now so we’ve been exploring the train. There are some people hanging out in corridors in shorts and slippers
We’re coming into Novosibirsk the 3rd biggest city in Russia. We’ve come about 2900 km from Moscow
It’s pretty chilly outside.-31oC apparently. And there’s men smoking in SHORTS on the platform!! 🥶🥶🥶🥶🥶
Morning!! Couldn’t sleep last night so I woke up incredibly late - to this... Now we’re in Siberia proper... birch forests, snowy villages and white valleys
You can see the back of the train as we curved around this village
We just had our first station stop - I saw the first pet dog I’ve seen in Russia! Is it too cold to have them? Or have they all been inside?
Now we’re passing this bridge and it’s so freezing steam is coming off the river beneath!
Drinking hot tea and watching Siberia unfold. It’s SO beautiful
I love it when you can watch the train curve around The Valley!
Lunch! Hot soup, frozen landscape.
The food’s really good - the view is even better
And so it goes on, endless and more magical (or maybe that’s the wine)
And sometimes you see a road or a person and you can’t really believe it. How did they get there?!
Now it’s dark. We just had another stop. There was a little shop this time. We got supplies including this beer which people told us to get. It’s 8%, so presumably that’s why
Also @RobbieRinder went out in his shorts to prove he’s as hard as the Russian men! I still wore my usual three layers of clothes!
Ok so Rob’s on the Báltica 9 and I’m on the Kremlin Vodka. We have our next stop in an hour, we think although it’s difficult to work out because the time zone’s keep changing ...
Ah ok so we crossed another timezone which means we’re coming into Taishet. Better start spending the next half hour wrapping up.
We only got 2 minutes! So here it is out the (snowy) window
Ok we’ve gone for dinner - It’s our last night on the train before we stop in Irkutsk tomorrow.
We’ve got chicken salad, a smoked salmon roll and Cotes du Rhône. And Smetina (sour cream) because Rob is addicted to it
And borsch
Here’s the rest of the restaurant, it closes in a bit (it’s 11pm here)
It’s -32oc outside!! I love they always have the temperature up. It’s like they’re proud of surviving such cold!
And here’s the lovely team who work in the restaurant
So now we have a ton of little stops and in the morning at like 7am we get off at Irkutsk (we haven’t worked out if it’s the 7.24 or 7.40 one yet but I feel this may be important)
Now I try and sleep (and read Anna Karenina) while @RobbieRinder drives me crazy doing his prison workout
By the way here’s (some of) the restaurant menu (someone asked for it) and now I’m going to try and sleep so we can be up for 7am x
Our Provodnitsa Elena (she runs the carriage) just gave us apples for bedtime as a present! We love her x
Igor woke us up on time for our stop at Irkutsk. There’s frost on the window and it’s dark outside ... excited to explore - here we come!
So here’s the media! Turning up to interview us in Irkutsk !
It’s beautiful here!! The trees are like ice skeletons, the streets are thick with snow and the cars are caked in ice.
And first stop ... our guide had taken us to a London pub! Which is in the oldest hotel in Irkutsk
Right yeah. That got a bit lost because I’m so terrible at threads but we arrived at Irkutsk station to find media wanting to interview us!!
We’re in the car now heading to Lake Baikal ...there’s steam coming off the cars and I got a spontaneous nosebleed outside, which is apparently pretty normal in this cold
While we’re driving I’m going to add some pictures I took on the train we lost on our thread. These were women selling fish at the station
And facemasks on the train on Christmas Day!
This was walking between the carriages
Caviar and vodka on Christmas Day with @RobbieRinder
Somewhere in Siberia !
The outside of our train
And here’s where we got our endless hot water for tea
So we arrived in Irkutsk and it’s bitter but there’s no wind. We climbed Rock Chersky. It was so cold the ski lift couldn’t run. There was not another tourist in sight ! After watching this land on the train it’s so amazing to be in it
It’s so icy steam is rising from the lake and the trees look like they’re carved from ice
And then after a climb. We reached the top of Rock Chersky. There aren’t really words...
There are ribbons up there, left by shamans. Red is asking for protection
Green for wealth and food. (This what our guide said - tell me if I’m getting anything wrong!)
And here we are. It would have been a 5 hour flight from Moscow
Then we went to look at cute woolf dogs
And buy fish
It’s so cold my hood and my eyelashes froze
And now- because we have lost our hearts and minds to Russia. We are going to the Banya (and Rob has promised to jump in the lake)
We are in Irkursk and the whole city looks like the set of a film. The snow is glittery powder, like walking through a snow globe
We went to see these three churches , inside they are candle lit, with pictures of Saints painted in gold and people singing
This is the Moscow gate and opposite a fence where newly married lovers leave padlocks
Oh also IMPORTANT. After the Banya @RobbieRinder jumped in the lake
So we came to a Soviet-era-themed restaurant!
And more!
I have no idea what is happening here...
It’s easily morning and we just got back on the train at Irkursk, now we’re heading through Eastern Siberia. Today is supposed to be the most beautiful part of the trip as we pass Lake Baikal. We don’t have any wi-fi on the train - but I’ll post what I can.
Meanwhile we did an interview with a Russian paper. It’s been pretty crazy! People keep hearing about our trip in Russia and everyone has been so enthusiastic and welcoming. We’re so sad to be leaving.
There’s no food on this train but we have hot coffee - in more pretty copper cups - and oranges, which we kept being given as gifts! Passing more snowy Christmas villages..
We have a stop at 3pm in Ulan Ude - for now there are more trees caked in white and whirls of snow being whipped into the air. And we slept for hours!
We just jumped off at Ulan-Ude.
It’s supposed to be colder here but it feels warmer because the sun’s out and the air’s less wet and the snow is crisp
There’s a gold statue of Lenin
And next to a church with a beautiful gold dome
We also got some supplies. Check out the vodka selection
oh! Some trainspotters asked me for picture of bridges! This was just before we pulled into town
And we’re off again...
We get to Naushki at 8pm and have a stop of almost 2 hours - any suggestions if there’s anything we can do there??
We have a feast (I’m not sure what all of this is - Except Rob’s Báltica 9. You have him addicted!) and a view
I’m just obsessed with this view
And now the light’s fading again into another sunset over the snow
Meanwhile IN the carriage I’m being pestered to start a campaign to get @RobbieRinder a lifetime’s supply of Báltica 9
Now there’s been nothing but snowy valley’s for miles. Sorry if you’re bored of sunsets!
I’ve been exploring the train. It’s much shorter than the last one and pretty empty. It’s also older in style (no wifi) but it’s very clean (a lady is cleaning it right now) with some lovely touches. The lamps and curtains
The next cabin along are four births, they’re filled with families relaxing. I’m not sure about photographing them so here’s an empty one
But this is my favourite bit. A window at the end looking back out on the track
Just snow and snow and snow
We’ve stopped! This is the boarder (I think) so now we have to wait for an hour. Not a lot to see. Hoping I don’t have to go outside in the cold in my pyjamas !
Now we’re waiting at the boarder so here’s some more pictures we took in Irkurstk
And the thread making the Russian news! facebook.com/TOKmedia/
Still waiting...@RobbieRinder ‘s made us a traditional Russian supper
And we’re back!!! No reception for 9 hours - but we’ve arrived now in UlaanBaatar. Hooray
Here we were just after crossing the border. Everyone hopped out out for a cigarette
We got off our train and the other trains pass right in front on the track with no barrier
Shortly we’re heading out to the country to stay in a yurt. Then taking the train onwards again in the morning to Beijing. I’ll try and post - if I have any reception again! Thank you all for following and being so lovely. We’re so sad the trip is going to end
Having some breakfast at a hotel before we head to the countryside. It’s cold (-25oC) but there’s NO SNOW!! Russia I miss you !! 😭
We visited the oldest temple in UlaanBaatar, a signed of Mongolia’s independence - and inside the (once gold now copper) statue
And the main square
Oh! We haven’t had any internet the whole time we’ve been in Outer Mongolia but now I’ve just crossing into Inner Mongolia so I can post some picture! We travelled into the snow covered valleys - and saw this giant Ghengis Khan statue with an hawk outside
Then we went into a snowy nowhere and stayed in a beautiful yurt
our yurt - or Ger, which is the Mongolian word, was beautifully handpainted inside and out
There were such beautiful dogs guarding our camp - they kept trying to get into the warm Ger! And hassling us (sweetly!) for food
We are plates of meat cooked on a Mongolian BBQ and drank tea - it was simple, but delicious
We went to visit a local nomad family -who were watching Mongolian wrestling on satellite TV!
Mongolia was so vast and strange I wish we’d stayed longer. We drove overland with no roads in the ice-cold, far colder than Siberia although nowhere near as much snow (I know far too little about geography to explain why)
Hold on I’m going to post that boy with his cat again because I just loved them
I wish I could have properly captured the stars at night. It was so special, silent and remote. I loved our Ger. Rob is ... er ... more used to creature comforts.
The next morning we were up at 5am for the next train. It was so cold overnight our water had become ice. I haven’t got a very good pictures of our cabin - it’s Red (and velvety) with bunk beds
We’ve spent today travelling through the Gobi desert. Which just goes on and on and on... (rather like this thread - I know!). The sun has been hot through the window but outside its still bitting cold
Here’s the gorgeous restaurant carriage. And my gorgeous @RobbieRinder . Also look at the frost on the window with the desert outside
And just now we’re waiting at the boarder to cross into China. I’m not sure what the 4G/ Twitter situation will be (I gather I won’t get google). Does anyone know (if I can get signal) if Twitter works in China?
We’ve been waiting at the Chinese border for hours. It’s midnight now. And cold. But Rob just muttered the words “oh my god that woman has Kentucky Fried Chicken!” And ran off. So things are looking up.
No KFC but we have returned to our train. Rob is frantically tidying our cabin (which is a chaos of wet socks, dried milk and vodka). Here’s a picture our lovely neighbour’s cabin instead, which she kindly let me take.
Tomorrow we’ll be in China! If I can’t tweet anymore then Happy New Year in advance. And thank you so much for all the lovely, amazing, funny comments and for following x
Well I’ve woken up, made us Chinese coffee and amazingly Twitter still seems to be working
The restaurant has now swapped from the beautiful Mongolian one (with the carvings) to a plainer Chinese one. I missed breakfast but made it in time for the 11am lunch
Out the window the landscape is more cultivated and dryer. The sun’s shining but we’re still passing frozen lakes. I’m told it’ll be about 0oC in Beijing, which after Siberia sounds really warm!
It’s slowly becoming more urban. In two hours we’ll be in Beijing (hey trainspotters, check out that bridge!)
Now the train’s running though steep mountains cut through with frozen rivers. It’s juddering a little on the rocky tracks. Just 20 minutes until Beijing! We will have come some 7826km overland. Bit tired now to be honest!
We’re here!!!
Looks like we made it!!
Look how far we've come my baby
We mighta took the long way
We knew we'd get there someday
They said "I bet they'll never make it"
But just look at us holding on
We're still together still going strong... 💓🙌 @RobbieRinder
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