July 14th, 2015

Sleeping with Roaches? - Russian Railways Adventures! :)


I've written several times about my love for Russian Railways and trains. Numerous stories and photos about my train adventures in Russia have been published in the blog, and occasionally I receive questions from other travelers who come across my posts when doing Google searches. With increased popularity, comes increased attention. This is both a blessing and a curse. Even though I'm still relatively unknown on LJ, I receive dozens of messages and emails each month asking me questions about travel, American life, a few marriage proposals, and just creepy things written by strange men. Today, someone was researching train travel in Russia, and came across my story about the platzkart adventure to Kazan. The reader has traveled to Russia before and is embarking on another journey, this time taking a long train journey from Moscow to the Urals. He is concerned about sleeping with roaches! See the question below:

"Hi! I am taking another long train trip from Moscow to the Urals, I am opting for platzcart class - I like the openness *and* the price is nice! But, as I have never traveled to the Urals before, I am wondering what the train experience through there will be like. I tried doing a search on the train number (392У) and found a review that mentioned it was dirty and roach-ridden. So, as I have a deep, long standing phobia of roaches of any size, I am petrified, and have had nightmares about roaches since reading that review. So, I am writing to you to ask for your opinion - are roaches on trains common, in your experience? Have you taken the train to the Urals before? Where might I find more info. about the train I will be taking, and what can I do to prepare myself, besides bringing insect repellent?"

I haven't been to the Urals, or on this specific train (392У). Do you know it? Is it good or bad? Have you ever cuddled with roaches on an overnight train journey? :)) As a foreign traveler, it's sometimes difficult to search for and find English language information about specific Russian trains and routes. I think I must have been on one of the worst trains on my overnight journey to Kazan. Incredibly old, in disrepair, with horrible conductors and no food!  Honestly, I'm not sure which is worse - seeing a roach on the train, or a half-naked, sweaty old man sleeping in his underwear. :)) Please help my reader, and answer his questions about this train if you have information about its condition.
Большое спасибо! :)