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After a quick night's sleep in Moscow, it was time to head to Kazansky Rail Station to continue my journey to the Olympics. The original plan was to take the new double-decker train to Sochi, but after arriving at the station I was informed the train was full. So, I waited for the standard train which wasn't scheduled to depart for about three hours. What to do in the meantime? I wanted to take photos of the station, but a guard immediately approached when he saw the camera and informed me no photography is allowed. I was able to speak to the Chief of the station, a very nice guy who spoke decent English. Because the station is undergoing a lot of construction, the Chief preferred that no photos be taken. However, he offered to give me rare access to the rooftop of Kazansky Rail Station and from there I saw some amazing views shortly before sunrise!Read more...Collapse )


( 202 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 27th, 2014 05:55 pm (UTC)
When I studied for my MS degree at Vladivostok , so during vacations I took 12 train ride to home 2 times a year ( back and forth ). I always took 2 class cabin, sometimes met interesting peoples .I remember one granny who narrated the story of her life,she studied at school before Revolution 1917 . I was charming as she spoke in bookish Russian.
Feb. 27th, 2014 05:58 pm (UTC)
I'm fascinated by people, but sometimes have real social anxiety. People like to talk to me, so I'm sure I could hear many interesting stories, though on the Russian train I probably wouldn't understand any of them due to language barriers. :)
(no subject) - fesma94 - Feb. 27th, 2014 06:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Erik Shindler
Feb. 27th, 2014 06:00 pm (UTC)
huh, i'm surprised that station guy took you for roof walk
Feb. 27th, 2014 06:01 pm (UTC)
Me too! But it was awesome. Maybe he has a thing for American women. ;)
Feb. 27th, 2014 06:05 pm (UTC)
Nice story! I definitely like your style!
I used to traveled in the second and third class only. My longest journeys were to Sochi and to Kandalaksha (it located near Polar circle by the way). I didn't quite remember that, I was a kid.
Feb. 27th, 2014 06:22 pm (UTC)
Polar circle, awesome! Maybe one day I'll make it there.
Feb. 27th, 2014 06:11 pm (UTC)
>>Now let's move on to one of our favorite topics - food! I

I knew it!:))
Feb. 27th, 2014 06:23 pm (UTC)
:)) But this food is better than octopus!
(no subject) - yarowind - Feb. 27th, 2014 06:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - phd_paul_lector - Feb. 28th, 2014 09:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 28th, 2014 02:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - phd_paul_lector - Feb. 28th, 2014 04:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2014 07:20 pm (UTC)
Don't you have such long distance trains in the US? How do you travel, say, from Miami to Alaska? Only by air?
Feb. 27th, 2014 07:28 pm (UTC)
I live near Moscow in the direction where trains from Vladivostok and China arrive. Always funny to see people looking out the train windows after a 7-day trip. They look like they've reached nirvana.
Feb. 27th, 2014 07:53 pm (UTC)
Yes, we have long distance trains in America but as I wrote in the Sapsan post it's not a common way to travel. Most Americans will fly or drive. Of course, Alaska is an exception as it's not so easy to reach in comparison to other States. Most visitors fly there, or enter via a cruise ship. I can imagine how scary and tired passengers must look after a 7 day trip! These trains must have showers, correct?
(no subject) - wise_gorilla - Feb. 27th, 2014 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aikarpov - Feb. 28th, 2014 07:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 28th, 2014 07:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aikarpov - Feb. 28th, 2014 07:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 28th, 2014 07:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aikarpov - Feb. 28th, 2014 07:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2014 07:32 pm (UTC)
Never, never liked to travel by train in Russia, except Sapsan.. If I can't take a plane, I go by the cheapest third class, and the only destination is St.Pete and back to Moscow. In general Russian trains remind me about years, when life was more tough in our country than now. Also don't like trains because it's wasting of precious days of vacations.
I remember worse experience such as 24-hour trip by bus! From Southern Ukraine to North Caucasus 13 years ago)) Though it was not that bad due to all the expectations of the trip. And as far as I know there buses which go from Moscow to Uzbekistan, and it takes two days of the journey. This might be really tough experience.
Feb. 27th, 2014 07:55 pm (UTC)
Two days on a bus!! That sounds like a real nightmare. Sapsan is very cool, but even this standard train was okay. I think Russian Railways has made a lot of improvement in quality of the trains, although there are still many older ones in circulation. My friend just started an assignment for the State Dept. in Uzbekistan. Maybe I can visit her. :)
(no subject) - e_g_o_r_i_u_s - Mar. 5th, 2014 11:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Mar. 5th, 2014 02:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - e_g_o_r_i_u_s - Mar. 5th, 2014 02:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Mar. 5th, 2014 03:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - e_g_o_r_i_u_s - Mar. 5th, 2014 03:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2014 07:36 pm (UTC)
Automobile road from Moscow to Sochi is much more like real highway, it has separate parts for both directions (except alongsea serpantines)
The way Moscow-Anapa took me about 18-19 hours this summer. If you add to it 3-4 hours of quite difficult winding road to Sochi you'll get almost the same travelling time as on train. So taking a train was reasonable choice.

Edited at 2014-02-27 07:37 pm (UTC)
Feb. 27th, 2014 07:56 pm (UTC)
I love serpentine roads, but only as a passenger. I don't wish to drive them!
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 27th, 2014 08:29 pm (UTC)
I can see how the train could grow tiring if you take it all the time, but for me it was a unique journey and way to travel. So I enjoyed the ride! Next time, I'll probably try 2nd class. Maybe I'll have an interesting neighbor in one of the bunks. :)
(no subject) - jack_cracker29 - Feb. 27th, 2014 10:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 28th, 2014 03:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jack_cracker29 - Feb. 27th, 2014 10:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC)
I open my secret - I adore to use third class, top bunks. I lie, listen to the people's talks and much sleep.
Feb. 28th, 2014 03:29 am (UTC)
I can imagine! A soap opera in motion, but I need subtitles! This isn't possible in real life conversations. :)
(no subject) - real_marsel - Feb. 28th, 2014 11:29 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC)
Both my dad and his mom took the train across country in their youth. It took over a week, but my dad says its still the best way to travel. Joe Biden, says they are working on high speed trains for cross country travel all over US. They will go over 200mph. So much better for the planet. I would be so excited. Take some of the power away from the evil airline industry. Give people choices. Gosh, I love the train!
Feb. 28th, 2014 03:31 am (UTC)
Really? Cross country trains in the U.S.? I'll have to research it. Oh, yeah, the airlines are becoming more evil by the day! On this last trip, I discovered their latest scam. You have to pay extra for a window or aisle "premium" seat. WTF! Basically you can only pre-assign a middle seat. This was on both KLM and Delta.
Feb. 28th, 2014 02:12 am (UTC)
>>. I had never been on a long train ride before,
-- What about Moskva-Vladivostok next time? ;)

>>I saw a lot of blankets, which I believe are provided free of charge.
-- Yes, it is free as well as a pillow and a mattress. If it is warm in the vagon you do not need a blanket. In the 3rd class, you need pay for a complect of bed linen only (it may be included or not included in the whole ticket price, depending on route or your wish; you can choose this option, especially for short routes without spending night in the train).

I like to use the 3rd class as taking a compartment in the 1st 2nd oneyou are severely dependant on which neighbour you get due to close space, and it is unpredictable who may be there if only you are going not with family or friends. If the neighbour is liked for you you are lucky, but if he/she is not... then it is much better to go in the 3rd class!
Feb. 28th, 2014 03:33 am (UTC)
Are most trains air-conditioned? I can't imagine being in 3rd class during summer time without it. Did you ever have any strange neighbors on the train?
(no subject) - phd_paul_lector - Feb. 28th, 2014 10:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - egor_13 - Feb. 28th, 2014 10:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - egor_13 - Feb. 28th, 2014 11:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 28th, 2014 02:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - e_g_o_r_i_u_s - Mar. 5th, 2014 11:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - egor_13 - Mar. 5th, 2014 11:31 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 28th, 2014 02:43 am (UTC)
Hi Shannon! Regarding 1st class: if person can afford this, (s)he will take a plane for such journey: faster and might be even cheaper. For example, one-way ticket in 1st class costs 300$, while return plane ticket costs 500$;) As for me once I traveled in 1st class, but the majority of time I took 2 nd or 3rd class. When I was younger I used to get to Omsk (40-42 h) by train in 3 rd class:) Because it was cheaper and safer comparing with 2nd class where you travel with other 3 people and doors can be locked.
I rode also Sapsan which is great but also quite expensive. So, I use it for business need.
Looking foward to your next post!
Feb. 28th, 2014 03:35 am (UTC)
Hi! Sure, in some cases the plane is around the same price and faster, but for me the train was a fun adventure. I can't imagine doing it all the time but it's a viable option when you need a break from airports and planes. And always a lot of interesting characters on the train to watch. :)
Feb. 28th, 2014 03:49 am (UTC)
I like third class better than second. I used to travel to Kiev by myself a lot (I have family and friends there), which, by the way, has been my longest train ride so far (18 hours), and I would always ride in a third class compartment. There were never too many people, but it was fun.
Second class might be better if you are traveling with your friends or family.
And a first class compartment is the best if you are traveling alone and want to be left alone, or if you are traveling with your significant other. It can be very romantic.
Feb. 28th, 2014 04:08 am (UTC)
I agree - romance and the rails definitely intertwined!
Feb. 28th, 2014 04:52 am (UTC)
Strange toilet.
Did it flush onto the rails? As I understand, in modern Russian cars toilets have special reservoir -- and disposable seat covers (you turn a knob, seat cover puts itself on the seat, you do your deeds and next customer turns a knob and gets a new seat cover -- but here it's clearly not so). But toilets flushing onto rails looks much worse usually :)
Feb. 28th, 2014 05:12 am (UTC)
Re: Strange toilet.
This toilet had no seat covers but was very clean by Russian standards. Not sure where it flushed? I didn't pay attention.
Re: Strange toilet. - phd_paul_lector - Feb. 28th, 2014 10:05 am (UTC) - Expand
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