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My first day

snow -18 °C
View The Trans-Mongolian Express on LewisNolan's travel map.

So my first proper, official night traveling was over and it didn't really mean much. I struggled to get off to sleep but I think it was a subconscious thing more than anything, also it could've been the little travel clock I brought with me? Thought it'd be a good buy only cost 2 pound but I didn't realise two pound had bought me the most annoying sound in all of Russia!! So with the the battery removed I got off to sleep. Room was ok, not too cold and the bed was comfortable other than the aforementioned square pillows. Woke up and heard a lot commotion outside which was just other guests getting up and I was surprised that most of the people within the hostel were Russian nationals, wasn't what I expected. So I got my funky travel cleaning gear out only to find that I didn't need my cool, blue towel as they were provided. So I did the 25 metre walk to the shower, that's right just one male and one female for one floor and sorted myself out. The toilets and and bathroom area were clean and everything worked although they didn't half pong, not of the usual what you expect smell but just a weird kind of dry smell? Hoping that it wasn't me after my shower I got dressed then waited for Catherine and Helen to meet me at nine. I thought I'd done quite well, up and dressed in time all on my own this traveling lark was easy. Sitting in the corridor waiting for the girls I could look at these crazy posters depicting what to do in a disaster, it's a wonder I didn't have nightmares. It got to 10 past 9 and Catherine stuck here head round the door, they'd slept in gutted but I wasn't bothered not really in any rush.
So when we were all ready we went to the apricot stone, not St Petersburgs most happening joint but it was the cafe attached to our hostel. Nice and bright, food was an ok price so we ordered. Although I did make a little bit of a boo-boo. I just pointed at toast, with ham, cheese, butter and jam as the other dishes all looked egg influenced and I'm not a fan. The waitress was a little perplexed by my order but took it anyway. Turns out you get toast with any order so the girls got egg with a side of toast and I just got double toast but at least it didn't have nuts in it. We got to know one another over toast then ventured out but doubt we could've picked worse weather, it was pretty much a white out? I've never been in an actual one but that's how I imagined it. Could only see bout 15 metres in front so we wrapped up and went for a trek. Found a few supermarkets and banks so that was useful but we only lasted about an hour and didn't go that far. It was worth it though, got some good first pics of buried cars. When we got back to the hostel we asked for a map if possible so the receptionist just ripped it out of their book, this meant anyone else turning up was stuck. But this map had everything we wanted on it, it was one they'd marked out, so we warmed up then went to the business centre which was basically a shopping mall. This place had shops, restaurants and an internet cafe so we had some 'authentic, home cooked' Italian pizza then went on t'internet. When we got back to the hostel we just wanted to sleep so we went for a snooze only for a new person to turn up an hour or so later. This was Jo from Newcastle who first met me in my pj's half asleep, classy. She was in the same room as Catherine and Helen for the moment so we decided we'd have a bit of a rest then get some dinner. I was just getting back to sleep only to be woken by one of the most memorable laughs I've ever heard and this was Richard from Southampton. He'd been sat in his room most of the afternoon and we'd not known which was a bit pants but he was up for food so him, Jo and me went the stone. It was very smokey though, so that inevitably made us talk about the smoking ban. These two were just as friendly and nice as the others so I was getting a good feeling about this trip. We perused the supermarket only to be told 'naht wodka' as apparently you can't buy booze over the counter between 11pm and 6am? I don't know how they confused Evian and chocolate cakes with wodka but they did. We chatted a bit more about ourselves getting to know one another, especially Jo finding it hilarious that Richard was allergic to horses and the two of them thought I'd eaten someones left over lunch in Heathrow! Which I didn't by the way then we went bed, Russia was looking good.

Posted by LewisNolan 10:10 Archived in Russia Tagged backpacking

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Lewis, the bit about the vodka made me laugh. Glad you seem to be enjoying yourself. We won't moan when the temperature gets a bit lower here as it will be nothing like you are experiencing. Take care and enjoy yourself. Lots of Love, Lucille

by Lucille

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