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Our Trans-Mongolian Train Adventure Begins!

Day 10 Overnight to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

sunny 25 °C

Our 12 day Trans-Mongolia train trip from Beijing to Moscow stopping in Ulaanbaatar and Irkutsk starts today.
Easy morning as the train does not depart until 11.22 am but conscious of how crowded Beijing Trains Station could be we want to get there early.
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Fortunately we are only one station away from the station so we caught the subway even though we had to lug our bags up and down a number of steps through the crowed station. We had people climbing over our bags as we heaved them up the stairs. We expect it is the Chinese culture to rush otherwise there is a risk of missing out.
We enjoyed our favourite local local breakfast of steamed buns and egg pancakes. The task of getting through security was quite easy as we had stories of hours of checking and sat in waiting room no. 3. From our previous experience to Suzhou, we positioned ourselves close to the gate armed with knowledge that when they open, the surge of people can be overwhelming.
However, we were pleasantly surprised at how gentile the experience became. The train sign for Ulaanbaatar with the correct departure time was hung on a hook at our gate - always a relief to know you're in the right spot - and we were allowed to get on the train about 30 minutes before departure.
As we stepped through the doors to the platform, it was like stepping back in time to another world. 15 carriages and neatly dressed a guard/steward waiting to greet us at every carriage.
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The carriages were beautifully presented, and the cabins were something out of the 50’s. Our private cabin with velour furnishings, a neat little table, bunk beds, fresh laundered linen and even an en suite toilet, shower and vanity unit and a nifty thermos for hot water, which was available at the end of the carriage. Jen and I just looked at each other in amazement of how opulent this was.
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Train left right on time and for the next few hours on the Chinese side we saw the horizon of apartment buildings melt away to be replaced by tunnels, valleys, cliffs, gorges, numerous windfarms, massive highways, and a magnificent sunset.
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The train had a dining car so I investigated to see what was on offer. Open the door and I was met with a thick cloud of cigarette smoke that you could carve with a knife. All the guards were smoking in there so I quickly retreated coughing and spluttering. We had bought food supplies so we started our dinner consisting of 2 minute noodles, and some small cakes and tea.
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Jen and I by now were coming down with a cold with Jen suffering the most so she was drifting in and out of sleep in her bunk. I was able to catch up on some blogging and taking photos of the trip. We arrived at the Chinese border about 9.45pm and what encountered us over the next 6 hours is just one of those travel episodes that whatever is written up in the travel agent notes before you leave does not prepare you for what we would encounter. We were warned by our neighbours back home but I will leave the rest of this story for the tomorrow's blog!

Posted by tszeitli 16:41 Archived in China Tagged train china mongolia

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Comments

Great blog. Keep safe and sniffle hard.

by PHIL T

Suspense, thrills, danger and love....Exciting chapter, but I can't wait till tomorrow for the next episode!

by Alan Davie

Sounds interesting!!
Boo hoo to the colds though....at least you got to nurse the colds in luxury!!

by Sonia

Bike gloves on here in Brisbane (a great present). Colds I'm sure soon to follow.

by Mike

Hope you are both feeling better as we need the travel blogs to continue - such an epic trip. Xx

by Helen Gillies

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