Day 28 - Thr 26 May 05, Train, Russia/Belarus/Poland
Awake at 06:30 local time (07:30 Moscow time) we seem to have avoided going through Russian customs and immigration. David has just looked out the window and uttered the immortal line "I can't believe it's not Russia". But according to the time table we are in Belarus, and a stop at Minsk station confirms the fact! Very confused about the ease at which we left Russia.
We've now got an extra bunk mate, who has more luggage than Guy, David and I put together. He was rather confused when he could only see two bunks in the carriage, but we soon put him right and showed him his bunk at the very top of the carriage. Minsk station is just like every other station I've ever seen!
As far as I can see Belarus is a rather flat land, with small villages of wooden single level houses and fields of oilseed. The train is making fast progress a kilometre in 35 seconds, on the Trans Mongolian it was more like 48 seconds.
We've just been handed our customs exit card (in Russian) so I've filled mine out. I guess that Belarus and Russia have an open border policy.
As we hit the Belarus border town immigration took passports and custom forms, and the train went off to have the bogies changed. Then back to the platform, usual long wait, but three hours later we made it into Poland! Polish immigration checks took 30 minutes
There are far fewer wooden buildings now! It's a sunny day, and all the Poles seem to have taken the day off, and are either sun bathing, or swimming in the rivers.
17:00 at a station just outside Warsaw, waiting while the train is re-arranged (again) I live in hope of a restaurant car. As I was standing on the platform I noticed that the train was slowly moving off, so it was a mad dash to get back on. But panic over, it was just being moved to the end of the platform.
Yipee, there is a dining car, I've just had a plate of mixed meat - prices are more European now!
During the night was awoken by Germans in uniforms at the Polish/German border. Too sleepy to do anything else than hand over my passport.