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In progress.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Through Poland and Belarus

My first big train journey. 2 days on board. This is how it went:


war & peace

cabin to myself

Belarus countryside


I've come off a train in which I'd hoped to mix with other international travellers, haggle for food on the platforms, play cards in the restaurant wagon etc.. I'm so naive - I'd even asked at Berlin what money I was able to use in Poland and Belarus.

As if I'd get a chance.

But no, no restaurant car and I was scurried after the one time I tried to walk up to other carriages. A cabin luxuriously to my self for two days, but just local(ish) families and the provodnik/provodnitsa in charge of our two sleeper carriages.

We stopped plenty of times, but only in sidings to shunt back and forwards, changing wheels and banging things with a hammer. I'd brought snacks for the journey, but had assumed I'd get more options down the line. Nope.

The one place I definitely knew we'd stop for a bit was Minsk, but on day two when I walked out on the platform, the train was half a mile long with no 'booths' or babushkas selling owt to be seen.

So it was just me, 'war and peace', and the occasional cup of coffee I blagged off the provodnitsa. Good job I don't get hungry in the heat.

Those two days in isolation have at least made me really enjoy the crowds in St Petersburg, which is a very easy city to hang out in. But they make me less confident about the next batch of train journeys - equally as quarantined and enclosed? But without the privacy (which was great, actually).

MP3 tracklist wonderful - Nev Clay, New Model Army, Kath Williams, Richard Dawson, Cranes, all evocative of the Newcastle gig scene and past memories of company!

OK, Schlusselburg is now Shlisselburg, and 35 km east.

Kronstadt is 30 km west.

Buses allegedly go near each, but in this heat I think I'll pass up on the possibility until I return in September. Just getting across to the Peter & Paul fortress was exhausting.

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