Arrived in Moscow

After a long and boring train ride to Copenhagen we finally arrived to the airport, for some reason our train actually arrived to the airport according to the time schedule which is not that common in Sweden so we had a lot of time to spend on the airport. Well, thats not really a problem and a couple of beers later we boarded the plane and headed for Moscow. It was me and Anton and 30 Chinese people so we started to think are we really in the right plane but I guess its the cheapest way to fly to Asia.

The food on the Aeroflot plane was the worst thing I ever had, a dry sandwich, a tiny slice of cheese and a huge slice of ham but luckily for us we landed in Moscow right after this wonderful “lunch”. The security control in Moscow was rigorous, the only time my passport been examined with a magnifier, the tore the passport and really looked through both the passport and visa extremely carefully before we were welcome to Russia together with a piece of paper which I have no idea what to do with.
We decided to grab a taxi to our hotel instead of fighting or way through the metro system. I think the metro would be faster because we stay at a hotel on the other side of Moscow but it was quite fun to see the suburbs, the crazy highway traffic and if you think that the Swedish suburbs are boring, welcome to see this! Moscow is the biggest city in Europe and the complexes and houses are huge. The condition of the houses are very different, some a newly built, some looks like they are falling apart any time, unfortunately I didn’t took any photos because I was busy just to try to survive our taxi trip.

Our hotel is descent, I mean for €25 a night its really nice but its located little bit off, its filled with the same Chinese people as from our plane and the hotel is former apartment houses which has been built together to form a hotel, it looks kind a special but for us it will be perfect. Now we will head out and find us some diner and vodka!

Moscow – Part two

The language would be a challenge that much did we know but that it would be hard to even navigate around in Moscow, that we wasn’t prepared for. To be honest, its freaking impossible to know which station you should jump of the metro at, which line you should take or which exit you should aim for. Yesterday we took the wrong exit and it took us nearly one hour to find our way back again. Lucky for us it was in the middle of the night and only twenty degrees outside cause during they days its really hot here and you need to drink a lot 🙂

Anyway, there a lot of rumors about how fancy the metro stations are but I don’t know. Sure some of them are really nice but most of em just contains fake wood and marble its the shit, however they should get creds for how big and well working it is. Sometimes it feels like you really never have to go up surface and there are tunnels everywhere.

We spent the day around the red square and Kremlin, since its so hot outside we spent plenty of time making sure that our liquid level are in shape, just according to our plan 🙂


All in at Moscow

Our plan was to go all in in Moscow and dry it of vodka and yesterday we aimed for just that but I confess, we failed with our mission but one thing at the time.

Around midnight we headed downtown, of course well dressed this shirts and long pants and we almost died of head since it was so warm outside. Anyway we find a nice restaurant for some late dinner and then we started to walk bar by bar until we found some clubs. a really short  conclusion is that you more or less is screwed if you don’t speak Russian, you are welcome to the bars and clubs but you can barely speak to anyone, we did however manage with some sign language, pointing at images but it kind a sucks then you cant speak to the people.

We did however found some clubs and we partying as hard as we could but it was still nothing compared to the Russians, they can party! Early morning and we decide its time to get back home we realize that the metro is closed and we have no idea where we are or where our hotel is, we have only memorized the metro station name. No panic though so we started to walk around and when we found Kremlin we at least knew where we were and we found a park bench to lay down and rest for an hour until the metro open again. Now after I looks at the maps I know we slept in the Alexander Garden park and well, it worked fine even if there was plenty of people walking around and at 7 in the morning we shared the metro with people going to their work while we were going to our hostel to get some sleep.

Tomorrow we will jump on the train towards Irkutsk and who knows when we get WIFI again but more updates will follow, the evening here will be calm because it feels like a train hit me yesterday.

Towards Irkutsk

With plenty of time we checked out from the hotel and started to our journey towards the railway station. Since we cant read the signs (we really should have learned the Cyrillic alphabet before this trip) we counted stations while going with the metro and it worked like a charm. At the railway stations we started to walk around randomly to try to find our train and normally you always see a lot of bums, homeless people around places like this but not here. Actually thats for the whole Moscow, no bums, no homeless people  but instead police officers and soldiers everywhere. At the station we found the information center and they helped us find our train, in Russian of course but we starts to get the hang of sign language now so that was not a problem. While leaving the station we see that to enter you have to go through a security checkpoint including x-raying your luggage, well since we took a side entrance where the guards having a smoking break we never had to do that, well done Moscow!

We found our train to Irkutsk or wherever its going and tries to jump on it but no no, before you can actually board the train you have to show em your passport and your ticket. This is really nice since you know you jump on the right train and at the right wagon, no worries that you jump on the first wagon and then have to walk inside the whole train to the last wagon and of course, you are 100% sure that you are on the right train!

The standard of the train is descent and what i expected, the beds are hard like rocks, the furnishing is plastic wood imitation and our lamps looks like they are imported directly from the 80’s. We live in a four bed compartment and therefore share it with two older Russian ladies. Of course they only speak Russians so we have a slightly limited communication but they seems nice and the sign language also works here. Each wagon on the train has its own wooden fire kettle so you can always get some hot water for tea or noodles or want to make some freeze dried food. Our Russian ladies had brought themselves plenty of food though and you should see it, they were taking up the whole compartment with food and I cant help to think if they have anything else in their luggage than food.
Each wagon also have a small kiosk selling candy, tea and other small stuff. Me and Anton, we are going to the restaurant wagon instead though and get some proper food which actually are really good. The food is properly made here and besides I have some issues with the Russian breakfast (cabbage, cabbage in all forms) its really nice and who can complains when you get salmon, 6 beers and and 4 shots of vodka for €25.

Arrived in Irkutsk

The days start to melt together and I have serious problem to say what happen today or yesterday, what time or even date it is. On the train we are living in or own world, our own twilight zone completely disconnect from the rest of the world while we slowly traveling through the Siberian wasteland. We westerns are hanging out and discuss everything form serious subjects like IRA or Berlusconi to more easy subjects like how crazy Russians really are or which vodka or beer is best.

During the evenings its been pretty much party all the time and yesterday we all went crazy, a gang of Russians hit the bottle pretty hard and we joined em. After a while we even got the staff on the train with us and we were a real nice mix of westerners, Russians and staff all drinking and having fun. One of the Russian guys even borrowed a apron from the staff and freelanced to serve us drinks, it was a blast until the police arrived and more or less gave us a direct order to go to bed. I guess this was for the best because I bet we would have missed our stop if we continued partying like that all night. We did not miss our stop and early morning we jumped of the train in Irkutsk where we are now.Minor problem to check in at the hotel since they couldn’t find our reservation first and the language makes it ever more difficult but we manage to solve it and now we are relaxing at the hotel. After 4 days non-stop on  a train I’m actually seasick now, it feels like my body has tuned in that its supposed to move and swing all the time and now when it doesn’t do it my body still compensate for it which make me seasick. Hopefully it will go over pretty soon case its not very nice feeling,


First day in Irkutsk

Today has been a really calm day with not a lot of action because a couple of reasons:
1. We are jet lagged, I’m not sure you can be jet lagged by a train going 60km/h but it feels like jetlagged at least
2. We have caught some sort of Russian super virus which kicks both the bird flue, swine influenza and AID, together! The result is that it feels like my throat is growing together and you spit slime that corrodes a hole in the street.
3. We have a slightly small need of taking a sober day and just relax and let our bodies heal from the last days of partying.

Anyway, we took a small walk in the city and the first impression is that we might have made a bad decision on how long time we will stay here in Irkutsk. In a afternoon we pretty much did the city center and for being a city with a population of 600 000 it feels kind a small. Anyway, we haven’t seen everything yet and in worst case we will do like all other tourist, head out to Lake Baikal, our first mission is to find a pharmacy and cure this virus…

Pharmacy in Irkutsk

Has been a really bad night here in Irkutsk and even if I thought that it was impossible to get worse beds than on the train I miss em and to make it even worse we had a gang war outside our hotel all night between rival dogs. Finally I fell a sleep and then I woke up I felt a little better than yesterday at least. Anton was worse though so we decided to head out and find a pharmacy.

To buy medicine in a new country is always special and to spice it up they don’t speak English here and all labels are written with Cyrillic alphabet. They clerk were very helpful though and after some sign language we got a bunch of colorful pills. I have no idea what we bought but we mix them with some classic pills from back home it seems to work, headache disappear and it feels like you can talk again and once it start to feel bad again its just to load up another hand of colorful pills.

We spent the day downtown along the river and we got our first came contact, a reindeer and a shit loads of horses. I don’t know if there was something special today but it was like a classic city festival with all kind of different activities. Then big difference compared to Swedish city festivals? No drunks, no red necks and way more polices here. Its also a big drifting event a bit further away that our Russian friends are attending too but neither me or Anton had the energy or felt that it would be fun to watch a car race today so instead we just chilled and enjoyed life along the water.





Last day in Irkutsk

Last day in Irkutsk and we spent in in the race track. We woke up well rested and surprisingly felt really good we headed downtown for some breakfast. While eating breakfast I got a text from the italian guys we met on the train and they were heading for the drifting event so we decided to join them. Its a nice sunny day so why not see some drifting in real life with some good friends. While we were standing in queue to buy tickets for the event the Russian we partied with on the train by. They went to Irkutsk just for this event and so happy to see us and they promised to fix us in for free if we just waited a minute. A minute later we suddenly had an ID batch saying that we were a part of their crew and before we knew it we were at the drivers meeting before the race. Everything was of course in Russian and me and Anton did not understand anything but it was really nice to walk around among all the cars. I think i too hundreds of photos but as a teaser you can see a short film clip instead:
[jwplayer mediaid=”7737″]

The afternoon and evening was spent together with the Italians, a nice and funny surprise was that the Irish couple came by too. It feels a bit sad that we wont see them again during this trip but hopefully we will meet up the Italians once we reach Beijing. All together it was an early evening, Italians left at 22 and me and Antons train are leaving tomorrow morning at 5.

After a few days here in Irkutsk it actually feels nice to get moving again. Sure the city has around 600 000 citizens and everything is crazy cheap but I start to get bored and every Russian guy we met who actually speak English ask us the same question: What a fuck are you doing here?

Tomorrow we will go to UlaanBataar and directly from the train we will go camping. In other words it will be radio silence from me for a couple of days but I think you will survive and I will update again once I get Internet connection again

Hello Mongolia

After just a couple of hours sleep it was time to get the bags and take a nightly walk through Irkutsk and to the train station and jump on the train toward Mongolia and Ulanbaator, It might not been our brightest idea to walk alone, as two tourist with all our luggage through the city in the middle of the night but we had no problem what so ever and to be honest, I never felt unsafe here in Russia. On our way to the train station we stopped at a 24/7 open cafe and bought some Russian pasty and while we stood outside and munching our a cop car arrived with the same goal. From this tiny Renault 19 four huge police officers jump out, together with Kalashnikov’s of course. I have no idea how that tony car could fit em all and its quite a difference compared to Sweden there they cops has an huge Volvo for themselves.

The same procedure again to board the train with showing your tickets and passport which is really nice and easy, unfortunately this train had lower standard and you could not open any windows. It hot, stuffy and pretty shitty on the train which may be explained that the train has been running non-stop from Moscow, 6500km away. This time we had a Scandinavian compartment, me and Anton together with two danish guys. Nice but we are bored and the heat make us easily annoyed about more or less everything, it will be nice to arrive to Ulanbaator.

We passed lake Baikal during the night so I couldn’t shoot any picture of it and after that the landscape has opened up with big, wide rivers. If it wasn’t for the pointy mountains you could think we were taking a train ride through the Swedish mountains, The few houses we seen remind of mountain cabins but here its the their permanent residence.I haven’t seen any arable and the few animals we see if groups of 4-5 cows.

The biggest challenge was to cross the border though. I you think that this should be an easy process since the train is passing here on daily basis you thought wrong. First they collected all the passports on the train, then they  passed them over to the soldiers who were checking that you were allowed to leave, had visa and everything. At the same time another group of soldiers boarded the train with dogs  and they really tore downed the whole train is their search for contraband. Once they finally has checked the whole train (which is a long, long train) the soldiers board the train and starts to hand over the passports, of course verifying that its you on your passport. About three hours later we were finally allowed to pass the boarder and we roll away, for about 20km and then the whole process starts over again, this time with Mongolian soldiers and police officers.


Many people write to me and ask more or less the same questions so my idea with this post is to answer them. The questions are just random so, no sorting order here

  • Did you get happy ending on the Chinese massage?
    No, this was a true massage institute with no intentions of anything except massage. There are however plenty of places which more or less wide open say that you will get happy ending and you cant walk down the street in Beijing without at least some people ask if you want some.
  • Hows the toilets?
    Russia use the same standard as western Europe and that includes the trans-Siberian train too. There was no paper on the train though so bring your own and you will flush everything just straight below the train which means that the toilets are closed while the train has stopped on a station. They were always decent clean though! On our camp in Ulaanbaatar we had a classic toilet chair over a hole, when its time to close the camp you just fill the whole with dirt and move your chair to the new place. In Mongolia and China we have seen all kind of toilets, from just a hole in the ground to regular toilets like the one we are used to.
  • Can you take a shower on the train?
    No, at least not in second or third class. Third class which is the cheapest means its more or less just a lot of beds in a wagon. You will more or less be sitting  and sleeping at your neighbor and this is the hard core class. In second class you have 4-bed compartments and if you want to sleep or relax you can easily close your door. Of course you might share your compartment with some other people but at least its a limited number of people. First class might have a shower but I doubt it and I assume its kind a luxury.  I went by second class and even if that means that I didn’t took a shower during those four days it took to get to Irkutskt it wasn’t that bad and everybody on the train were the same. I did enjoy the shower once I took it in Irkutsk though.
  • Hows the food?
    The food is far away from the “Swedish Chinese food” you can find and it taste really, really good. Every dish is like an explosion of flavors and its cheap. Normally you order a couple of different dishes to the table and then you eat from the one you like most. I must however give the advice to learn to eat with chopsticks before you go, Anton didn’t and he struggled before he learned how to eat. I must confess that neither the Russian cabbage or Chinese rice breakfast is a favorite but you can always eat something else.
  • Does English work??
    Sometimes but in Russia mostly no. In Mongolia and China many signs are in English and you can actually speak with people however there is many typos and you may not get answer on the question you asked. With some sign language and good will you will manage anyway.
  • Do you recommend the trip?
    Oh yea but do not expect an all inclusive trip. You will be confused, live like a bum and meet a lot of different people and different culture