It was with a twinge of sadness that we boarded the Rossiya train in Yekaterinburg yesterday evening, for our last Trans Siberian ride to Moscow. No, I tell a lie!
We can’t wait to get there, and the sooner we are off the train, the better. I think this latest journey has been noisier, rougher-riding and less enjoyable than any of the previous legs. Maybe it’s just the anticipation of finally arriving in Moscow late this afternoon (Saturday), but we will be very happy to leave the long distance train travel behind us. This is a vast country, probably best experienced from a window seat at 39,000 feet, in a jumbo jet.
The display in the carriage corridor indicates the outside temperature is 17 degrees, which suggests that finally spring may have arrived. The sky is certainly blue, with not a cloud in sight. I think we will appreciate some warmer weather in Moscow, especially not having to wear our warm parkas every time we step out. (Later posts will prove this to be incorrect!)
We are approaching the city of Nizhny Novgorod (formerly Gorky), which is 442 km from Moscow. It is located on the Volga River and is Russia’s fourth largest city, with a population of 1.3 million.. I took some not very good pictures of the combined road and rail bridge across the Volga River through the very dirty window of the train.
The surrounding countryside has not changed very much, although there are shoots of green starting to show beside the railway tracks. There is still plenty of snow on the ground in places that are sheltered from the sunshine.
We are now actually in the Moscow time zone, which will eliminate the confusion that always existed when the train was running on Moscow time and we were many hours away from that in real local time. Now we are just 6 hours behind eastern Australian time.
The train arrived at the station in Moscow absolutely on time, after about 150 hours of travel from Vladivostok. Queensland Rail take note! We found a taxi driver willing to bring us to our hotel, and negotiated a fair price for the journey. There was no additional charge for the death-defying feats of squeezing in, barging through, accelerating madly and taking of short cuts that we also experienced. We arrived at the hotel in one piece, but the driver declined Garry’s 1000 Rouble note, calling it a fake. (We spent the same note in a supermarket later in the day.)
The Mercure Arbat hotel is an oasis of peace and calm from which we will venture forth to discover Moscow. But that is for another day, and another blog post.