The last leg of the train ride was very different from the other two legs.
First of all it was now the trans-mongolian railroad with final destination in ulan-baatar. This meant that there were practically no russians aboard but only mongolians. And they weren’t just travellers but traders stacking huge amount of goods. One lady had goods in pretty much every compartment, stretching over several carriages!
Second of all we didn’t go to the restaurant van, we didn’t drink vodka (okay I didn’t, Nikolaj had a little bit) and we shared compartment with a british couple. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures! But I do have a picture of the train from a platform which isnt’t really a platform but just the tracks:)
We spent the whole trip playing cards (Uno and Durak), watching out the window and getting our passports checked at the border. The view of lake Baikal from the train was spectacular though!
As always. There is loads of information to be gotten by checking our travel log:
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.
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.
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
After a nice day in the park
we got our passports!!
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!