When I woke up this morning I checked the time on my Fonepad and it showed almost midday, imagine my surprise when I realised I slept in so late. Then I went out to get ready and checked the time on the train and it said 8:50am. This is when I remembered that we did indeed cross a few time zones on our journey and will cross one more before we get to Irkutsk. The train however remains on Moscow time to make things really confusing.
Now I know what time my train ticket says we should arrive in Irkutsk but if I am not mistaken this is Moscow time so in Irkutsk it will be around 5h later. This will cut down my time there somewhat and will also mean I have a later (or earlier) start from Irkutsk to Ulaanbataar.
So should you take this journey, keep in mind that the train times are all Moscow time, irrespective from where to where you go and what time zone this might be. As if keeping track of time zones and the different days each train leaves would not be enough, you also have to keep track of the train times and local times not being the same throughout the journey.
This is getting a bit confusing, after all this time in the train without regard for time or day, I did not even realise it's Saturday. You do end up losing track of time here, it's almost as if time stays still. Which it actually does as it remains Moscow time.
It's a funny feeling being completely disconnected from the world for days at a time, no internet, no phone, no news or communication with anyone I know or even communication in English. Some of it is part of the journey, some of it is my choosing.
I have been tempted (more like an addict to be honest) at the larger station stops to go and look for free wifi to at least get my emails and some news but always stopped myself, I want to be immersed in this to full appreciate it.
|This was taken through the window of my train passing one in opposite direction at high speed so I am very proud of the moment I was lucky enough to capture and thumbs up to the GR as I did not even this.|
What still amazes me is how you can be in a train moving forward for days and days and still not run out of track. Sure, I read this when preparing for my journey and read other people's reports but unless you do this, it's difficult to really imagine or understand.
I have been keeping up with writing these posts every day as I did want to write down exactly what went through my mind and how I saw things on that day. I did not go back to edit them afterwards so some things might be a repetition or not always tie in together very well but this is how things were.
Arriving in Irkutsk on time at 15:57 train time or 20:57 local time meant there was not much left of the day. I also found out that I managed to book the furthest away hotel from the station so after getting annoyed with some taxi drivers decided to do some walking and see a bit of the city. I was mostly sitting for the past 3 days so I needed some exercise and air even if it meant carrying all my stuff on my back.
Not quite sure what to think of Irkutsk just yet but if you travel by train book a hotel close to the station and to the city centre. Some impressions are in the photos on this post.