Hello Moscow – good to see you again!

As we left we felt pretty happy and contend. Things were looking good and we believed that after our visas were in order everything was in control. we didnt see anything troublesome. We felt like this peacock – happy and carefree

Peacock in a large park in warsaw

Peacock in a large park in warsaw

That changed though. In warsaw we managed to get to the right track, platform and sector although the only number they seemed to use was platform. We were a little worried when the train didnt show on the track monitor 2 minutes before departure… were we on the right track (!?) 5 minutes earlier some polish message was spoken in the loadspeakers which made 9/10 leave the tracks and move somewhere else so that had us a little worried. A quick ask around ensured us that everyone else was also waiting for the train to moscow. 10 minutes later (it was delayed), the train rolled in and we got on.

We were worried that the tickets for this 20 hour train ride was only for seating, not beds but when we got to our numbers we got very happy – it was beds and we had the room to ourselves! We quickly praised lady luck again and took some picture

view from the train (and a smiley face?)

view from the train (and a smiley face?)

nikolaj in our 2 (3) bed bedroom. pretty nice and with power :)
nikolaj in our 2 (3) bed bedroom. pretty nice and with power πŸ™‚

Then the troubles started rolling in. We were met by the conductor and after inspecting our “tickets” he wasnt happy. they were not valid. We later found out that apparently they were russian train system vouchers that had to be changed to real tickets first… and here’s the kicker – it has to be in russia! basically that means that tickets going from warsaw to russia are useless as you first have to be in russia to validate them – crazy russian train system.

We tried asking if there was a way to stay in the room but he said no – even after we starting waving some roubles. He was nice enough to let us ride on 2nd class (normal seats) instead of kicking us out. Then we could get to terespol (by the border where the train holds still for 45 minutes). This should be enough for us to buy new tickets. Luckily he didnt simply kick us out!!

We got there and quickly got in a heated argument with a polish train ticket saleswoman that didnt know what to do with the (in the polish eyes) worthless vouchers, a random nice polish/english speaking woman and us. After some swearing and aggitated voices we were told to follow another (calmer) ticket lady to the platform. We had to wait a little away since it was practically a border we were standing on but the ticket lady was allowed to go there and she talked to the conductors. She then came back with the information that were only valid in russia. Meanwhile I snapped a picture of the border while noone was looking

passport control in terespol
passport control in terespol
passport control in terespol
passport control in terespol

Well to make a long story short, we had to buy new tickets and then we got on the train and had to get our tickets and visa checked (it ran us 220 eur for two tickets to moscow but maybe its not so bad as we might get our old tickets refunded)

The visa check took about 1hour by a beatiful border patrol woman and after asking us what was in our bags (private stuff and vodka) she accepted our passports and walked away. We got them back about half an hour later.

We thought that we now could relax (we had gotten new tickets with a room similar to the old room so still the nice comfort) but there was one more surprise waiting for us.

When we arrived in Brest, hordes of babushkas, boarded the train with pivo (beer), sok(juice) and all kinds of bread and chicken. They competed intensely with each other, talking hectically and a haggle between what we wanted, how much it should be, and which of the ladies we should buy from started. At the same time we had to move room (the conductor asked us) and I was extremely tired.

After a whirlwind of russian and absolutely no english we had a beer, some peanuts, some juice, some deep fried chicken and some bread. Actually a lot of it. we ended up paying about 1500 RUB, which is approximately 225 DKK (30EUR). Not very cheap relative to what it was but okay compared to the situation and that we were very hungry πŸ™‚

We ate the food and looked out the window. It was pretty nice that we could open the windows and stick our head out without anyone minding. Everyone seemed pretty content with us doing whatever so that was nice.

We waited about two hours for our train underwagon to change as the tracks are different in belarus. They basically lifted up the entire train on huge jacks and rolled these things in under us while we were all in the train. During this time (visa check + train change) of approximately 3 hours, we couldnt go the restroom. Which was pretty much the only thing the conductor DID mind… which is understandable as the feces would have fallen straight down in the workshop πŸ™‚

in brest (belarus) the tracks were different so here the entire bottom part of the train was changed as the train was lifted by huge jacks
in brest (belarus) the tracks were different so here the entire bottom part of the train was changed as the train was lifted by huge jacks

We then went to bed (Nikolaj wasnt done partying and went looking for someone to party but there was noone to be found). The night passed as we rolled by Minsk and left Belarus behind us. Arriving in Moscow at 11:45 in the day.

We are now checked in at our hostel, the weather is good and the hostel seems nice. Although – apparently hot water is “en by i rusland” as there is only cold water. It’s a saying in Danish that means “a city in russia”. You say that when it’s very unlikely you’ll get it – as unlikely as finding yourself in that exact city somewhere in all of russia. Which is kinda ironic as we are in fact in a city in russia πŸ™‚

As one should always end on a stong joke – this will be the end of this post!

Tomorrow is day 1 of the actual trans-siberian railroad. Exciting stuff

Warsaw, vodka and visas

As always. There is loads of information to be gotten by checking our travel log:
http://www.mobilytrip.com/journals/92xzPJ8yK9FBhKEvjpVqpGSs9

To sum it up so you wont have to read twice: We ended up couchsurfing at a sweet polish girl named kasia and her boyfriend and her roommate Pawel. We also met up with a friend of mine from earlier, Anna, and finally we did very little sightseeing and… drumroll: WE GOT OUR VISAS and passports back from the belarussian embassy.

kasia and her boyfriend
kasia and her boyfriend

There is so much to tell in so few days its impossible to get it all down in writing. Many vodkas were drunk and many laughs were made!

I’ll just dive into one detail that concerned us the most: our visas.

Still a little hungover from the night before we entered the belarussian embassy at 1pm . We saw from the polish track and trace that our letter is not delivered and that it had been sent out for delivery again the same morning.

Our heats pounced as we went to the teller to see if she knew anything. we didnt stay at the counter for long before she knew who we were. “are you the danish people?”.Reluctantly we answered yes to which she continued “first of all.we are not a post office!, and second of all ,visa application is between 9-12. come back tomorrow”. Well apparently they have the visas but also apparently she wasnt happy!

Afraid to hear the answer we asked if the visas could be done before tuesday evening (one day after) as we had to catch a train… Still not fully convinced we left the embasssy after a short “DA” (russian for yes). She wasnt happy but after all itwas good news.They had all the docments and we could get them in time.

That night we celebrated

Tuesday morning we got up at 7am and were at the embassy at 8:30.After 1,5 hours we got in and got in line at the “english” counter. Another guy from Slovenia was there and we asked him how hard it was to which he replied : “you have no idea!!!”.He promptly got rejected for the third time for him and now it was our turn.

We got up to the counter and didnt say a word as she just looked at us : ah,you. She recognized us from the day before and knew what to do. She got back with our applications and asked for two signatures. we gave them and she gave us our 80 euros back… we didnt know why but we soon found out. we couldnt pay cash. she gave us a note and told us to go a nearby bank and transfer the money so we did.

the note and money
the note and money

Not too thrilled to look into another 1,5 line of waiting to deliver the receipt we walked to the front of the line and i asked the guard to let us in (i didnt say anything i just waved the receipt) and luckily (!) he let us in! 5minutes later i was out and we got the magic stamp. We could pick them up at3 the same day

 

line outside embassy
line outside embassy

 

After a nice day in the park

the park
the park

we got our passports!!

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we couldnt believe how lucky we were.

Tonight we will celebrate

tomorrow we will continue our journey towards moscow!

 

NOTE: during this whole time we had alot of back up plans. flying to minsk as you can get instant visa there, flying to moscow, flying home to get the passports if the package was returned home, and of course bribing our way across the border .. but luckily we didnt have to!

Keep Reading

Waking up in Warsaw!

Hello!

Today we woke up in Warsaw! Not only did we hitchhike from denmark to warsaw in a about 30 hours, we also ended up meeting the nicest truck driver and his family. His name is Cristoph and at the time of writing we are sitting at his computer in his house with his kids running around and all is good πŸ™‚

This is Cristoph:
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As luck would have it, their neighbours daughter were having a party and we were invited. Its the one in “red” that just turned 21.

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We brought some danish “1enkelt” and some polish sobiesky vodka and we were good to go.

Remember to follow our travel diary which also has a great description of what showed to be one of the most adventurous and exciting days of my life:

http://www.mobilytrip.com/journals/92xzPJ8yK9FBhKEvjpVqpGSs9

But to sum it all up we are now ready to embark on more adventures in Poland. Including the whole “getting our passports” problem mentioned earlier. The only thing we know is that the mail with our passports have been “delayed”..

Thats it for now!

Andreas