Trans-Siberian Part 1: Billericay to Cologne
This is basically a commute - I am stuck in trains with lots of other people, which I realise is exactly what I'm doing by catching train to Mongolia, but it doesn't make you feel like the holiday has started yet. I wondered what I was letting myself in for when I sat next to a guy in his late 20s who spent the whole journey from London to Lille drawing on his arm in blue biro.
I didn't get to see anything of Brussels but I had two hours between trains in Cologne, which seemed to last all day. I had plenty of time to enjoy the warm evening and walk round the Opera House, down to the Rhine and over to the Cathedral, which would have been really exciting if I hadn't been there before (but it was still quite exciting). I had plenty of time to try out Dom beer and also currywurst mit pommes - it was just like being at a farmers' market.
When the train arrived for Warsaw at around half past ten at night, I had a big reality check. I wasn't expecting the Ritz but when I saw my cabin, I really was wondering what I was doing. The room measures about 6 feet by 4 feet and has three beds on one wall - and my ticket was for the middle bed.
However on leaving Cologne I soon realised that I was on my own in the room, which wasn't too bad, but I was told to sleep in the middle in case anyone got on the train in the night. They didn't but I then I had the worst night's sleep ever - a combination of me worrying if I was going to fall out of the bunk and me being extremely dehydrated since I had neglected to drink any water for the whole day and took all my liquids in the form of a few beers. I was drowsing through a number of train stops too but couldn't get up to see where we were, but at 5am I decided to look out of the window and saw that we were in Berlin. Not just any Berlin, East Berlin. Very James Bond, or at least David Bowie.
Things picked up in the morning when I wandered down to the restaurant car and had a delicious jajecznica wiejska for less than four quid - scrambled eggs with chives, chillies and paprika. You don't get that with British Rail.
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Last updated 01 June 2013 11:32
I think I'm meant to do an "About" here but I think you'd be more interested in seeing a random seagull.