Moscow, Sunday 6th October
“Arrived 7.55am on sleeper train from St Petersburg, leaving at 23.55 last night.
It felt a one time luxurious cabin with cream and red curtains of swags and tails at the window and a vase of artificial yellow roses on the table. It had seen better days, but more than hinted at how train travel had been regarded. We were given glasses in ornate silver metal holders filled with hot water on request. Although soon discover they are not for lingering with as disgruntled staff take them back again.
I share this cabin with Leah, Shenny and Cynthia. Two bunks above and two below. Bags and cases are wedged into every available cubby hole. Shenny soon begins her morning routine of insisting on photographs of us all, at every junction in the journey, in every possible combination, from every perspective. An almost hour by hour account of the next three weeks of my journey commences. An enthusiasm I have never encountered before. A broad grinning face and warm demeanour, she is impossible to refuse and a joy to be around. Counting our days through the journey to Beijing she is totally un phased by anything. A level of energy I can only imagine…”