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.