I was already miffed that id had to pay so much for a ticket out of a city i loved to a city i was really not looking forward to. If truth be told Moscow was only part of the itinerary because i was certain i would have been getting the train from there Trans Siberian style.
Anyway, the kids were really looking forward to sleeping on a train (no idea why) We arrived at the station which is like one out of a war film where the platform is not actually a platform but merely a piece if concrete between two rail tracks.
The train arrived on time and we boarded.
Now, you have to imagine – The Latvias Ekspresis (Latvia Express) is the pinnacle of rail in Latvia, to work on such a train is where all Latvian Rail conductor/chefs hope to one day end up. And it shows, each carriage has 2 employees, a conductor and a chef. The Chef is the guy who constantly is offering out cups of tea and walks up and down the carriage picking up the minute pieces of dust in what is already a pristine carriage, whereas the conductor is the beautiful leggy blonde who wakes you up to tell you you are at passport control – The first time in my life ive dreamt something and it has come true – Except in my dream it wasn’t passports i got out and gave her…
The billet itself is small, but more than enough room for me and the kids. Charlie and Abi shared a bed and i had my own. The novelty of being on a 17 hr train journey which you slept on wore off after approximately 2 minutes when i heard the first whimper of boredom.
There was 2 passport controls, the first was exiting Latvia, the officers got on the train and pretended like they actually cared you were leaving.
The second was Russian Passport control, again they come on the train, realise the only Russian word you know is “Vodka” – Yet still continue to speak to you in Russian like you are digesting every word. Either way they take the passports and bring them back nicely stamped and with registration documents in (which i am told have $100 penalties for not handing in on the way out) and your away.
The kids did play I Spy until they had spied everything in the compartment, guess the animal until the only animals left were extinct ones and had the odd 100 or so arguments. They slept after the final Passport Control which was about 11pm.
The brakes on the train needed a bit of WD40 and as such it was a pretty sleepless night for all of us. Needless to say we arrived into Moscow 30 mins ahead of schedule after a very long 17hr journey, absolutely knackered.
Next stop Beijing……