Train to St Petersburg

Trip Start Aug 31, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Belarus  ,
Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The sense of leaving western europe started as soon as i got on the russian railways train at Berlin.  None of the train guards could speak english, and everything looked sort of drab and soviet.  I was sharing my cabin with a older couple, from Russia and what what is now Kyrgistan.  They didn't speak any english, although i managed to have a limited conversation with them in german.  I soon discovered that there was only one other person in the carriage who spoke english.  He was a German called Ryke, and had done the journey a few times.  From talking to him I was expecting a bit of a interrogation at the Belarus border, but in the event it was pretty painless.  A few guys didn't have Belarus transit visa though so they got taken off the train and presumably dumped across the border in Poland!

The only time the train stopped for any length of time was in Orsha, which is where the train splits, with my half going on to St Petersburg, and the other half to Moscow.  I got out and walked around a bit with Ryke.  We walked around the older part of town, and and the houses are all self built, but very colourful.  Almost every house you pass someone has done something to decorate it, from something as simple as green fences and yellow window frames, to one house which was painted purple.

When we got back to the train station the train had gone.  Momentary panic at the thought of being stuck in what has been called the last dictatorship in Europe with a transit visa that runs out in a day, but they were just splitting the trains. 
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