10. At the End of the Rails
On Saturday June 24th, finally Rossiya, train# 002, the superfast express train, pulled into Vladivostok train station exactly at 7am, local time, or give or take 23:45 Friday night Moscow time. All along the 7 night, 6 full days travel (144 hours), the train was running on Moscow time. Our carriage had an electronic board on both sides of the carriage number, and Moscow time only. No local time is visible of train or train station platforms. Even platforms go by Moscow time. Since it changes to 7 time zones, after leaving Moscow to Vladivostok, the time on all long distance trains within Russia, maintain Moscow arrival and departure time.
I spent about 90 minutes packing my two bags on Friday afternoon. By Friday dinner time, I was already packed, went to dinner at the train’s diner, came back and climbed into my upper berth bed, with my black pants, black socks, a shirt hanging on the hanger with my jacket, that’s it. I set my watch alarm to 6am, but, I was up by 5:30am on Saturday. Just went to the toilet, freshen up a little, removed the white bed sheets and pillow case, and give it to the attendant, while she came by to collect it.
The train was on arrival time: 23:45 Moscow time, by the time we got off, it was just about 7am, Saturday, local time in Vladivostok. As we stepped down the last step of the train, I said to the attendant: “Dasvidanya” (goodbye). She responded “Dasvidanya”, with a smile!
Dasvidanya Rossiya 002!
It was quite an adventurous train journey. I enjoyed it very well. Never crossed my mind to get it over quickly. I was enjoying every minute of it. Sure there were few hick-ups in the 7 nights, 6 days journey, but they were manageable. There were few foreigners on this train. Its one of those bucket list item that I wanted to accomplish, and in the planning and research stages for the past 7 years or so. I had to make it happen with finances, planning and a ton of moral support and encouragement from Denise.