Vladivostok to Khabarovsk
After a buckwheat porridge breakfast and good luck wishes from the taxi driver I arrived at the railway station with 90 minutes to spare. A touch excessive even for me. The waiting room was splendid with its ornate ceiling and the departure board showed everything in Moscow time (+7 hours). Although it’s as I expected, it still took some getting used to.
It was platform 3 so off I set, catching a final sight of the Eastern Dream before finding carriage 10, kupe 7 (a compartment of 4 beds), seat 27.
At precisely 11.02 we set off, first running close to the coast and then into miles of wooded or marshy lands with scattered farms and mountains on the horizon.
Two stops down the line I was joined by a woman on her way home to Irkutsk. She made her bed with the pack of sheets supplied, put on her sleeping kit and settled down to watching the television – the No. 1 train, the Rossiya, is top of the range as far as trains go.
Three hours into the journey the kupes had filled and people were beginning to stretch their legs in the corridor or just stand watching the scenery go by. One chap was trying to negotiate his way out of room with a lively one year old. As I was getting off in Khabarovsk at 11pm, and had no intention of sleeping, I willing volunteered. And so my travelling companions became Deema, his parents, and Maxim, a student on his way home from Vladivostok. Maxim had a little English, the couple less so, but Deema and I had no language issues at all.