Something we hear a lot, is that the Trans-Siberian train is a unique experience. To Moscow we’ve seen a lot of mileage on the railroad track, but the real Trans-Siberian Express begins only in Moscow.
In the afternoon, we pack up for a 30 hour journey to Ekaterinburg, the fourth largest city in Russia. Railway stations here check your baggage like you’re boarding an airplane, but there is no passenger needing to hand in his pocketknife. For show our backpacks go through the scans, while a grumpy looking man is keeping an eye on the camera, probably surprised about the ridiculous amount of noodles that we’ve packed.
At the station we immediately meet two Swedes who are taking the same train and end up two compartments next to ours. But that’s not all, once settled into our four-person compartment, we hear something familiar in the hallway .. a Dutch couple who appears to share the same compartment with us. Nice!
Gradually we learn that Paul and Nelly are also from Gelderland and that one of their kids practically lives on the same street as we do in Amsterdam. What a small world! So we delve deeper into Russia, while sharing stories with instant coffee and stroopwafels (caramel laced waffles).