Rested, clean and fed, and with bags full of supplies, we were ready for the big 3-day train trip to Vladivostok. By then we already knew the drill of looking for our names (written in cyrillic) in the list of carriages, waiting for the train at the freezing cold platform and running to get a good bed, hopefully in a compartment with your buddies.
Ulan Ude train station
After a good meditation session I made some fresh ginger tea and spiked it up with a splash of cognac. One of the girls in my compartment shared her prunes and almonds with the rest.
For dinner José and I made a salad with capsicum, carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, garlic olive oil, chilli olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. We also had salami, jerky and ikra.
03 Feb 2014
After another long session of meditation I had some coffee. Brunch was mandarins, olives, ginger tea, a banana and mixed nuts.
The landscape in that part of the country was very different to what we had seen before. More mountains, less snow.
We still got a thick layer of ice on our window frames, though. Very handy for keeping drinks and perishable food cold, not very pleasant when it melted during the day on your bedding.
Dinner was salami, cheese, gherkins, salad (cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, carrots), sardines in tomato sauce, green olives, ikra (with and without mayo), almonds, dark chocolate, cognac and cheap red wine.
Russian cask wine
04 Feb 2014
I woke up “early” (before 9) and it was still dark. There was a stop after 10, we ran to the lama’s carriage where he received the local group. We returned to our carriages and started a 12-hour meditation in preparation for the upcoming course in Vladivostok. No, we don’t meditate for 12 hours straight, but at any time there’s always some people doing the meditation.
Meditating on the train
For the first time on the trip I visited the famous restaurant carriage. I heard food was not great and drinks were expensive but that it was a good meeting point for people who were travelling in different carriages.
Later I had coffee and mandarins, then jerky and a piece of carrot, more fresh ginger tea and the usual train fare.
05 Feb 2014
We finally arrived to Vladivostok! It was quite different to all the other cities we visited before. Because it’s right by the sea, the temperature is not that cold. -19 degrees Celsius, which felt like spring.
The thing that caught our attention was the sea. It was frozen! You can walk on it! In fact, fishermen walk a few hundred meters from the shore and drill holes in the ice to catch fish.