On the Midnight Train to Georgia…I Mean St. Petersburg

March 23, 2010 at 12:02 pm (Uncategorized)

We had a long weekend again for International Women’s Day (a very big holiday in Russia), so we all decided to go to St. Petersburg.  We bought round trip train tickets for under one hundred bucks, which is cheap considering the train to Petersburg is 12 hours long.

The train to Petersburg leaves Vladimir at 10:20 pm, which meant Courtney and I needed to leave around 9:45.  We saw the number 15 bus go by, which we were pretty sure goes to the train station, so we got on it.  Almost immediately after the bus left we realized that this would be the absolute worst time to be wrong.  Luckily, for once in Russia, we were right.  Everyone had loaded up on cheap Vladimir food for the trip.  We all had things like bread, sausage, granola bars, and nutella.  Ginger cookies have also become immensely popular with our group, so between us we had about four bags of them.  We were set.

The train was totally awesome.  I had imagined miniscule, wooden planks for beds in a completely open compartment with twenty beds.  Instead, I stepped on the train and thought I had died and gone to heaven.  There were two bunks in a semi-closed off space, so we at least had some privacy.  The bunks also had nice red padding, as well as an extra puffy cushion to put on whenever you wanted to go to sleep.  Plus we got clean sheets and towels in a package we had to open.  The area was pretty small, but that was only a problem for Jeff, who is 6’5”.  Joely had also told us horror stories about train bathrooms, so we were extremely afraid of them.  Jeff was the first one brave enough to actually use one.  We huddled, waiting to hear his report.  He came back and said, “I do not know WHAT Joely was talking about.  That bathrooms is one hundred times better than our school’s bathrooms.”  Not only did the bathrooms have toilet SEATS, they also had toilet paper, a working sink, and paper towels.  It was truly a gift from God.

Jeff mentioned that he had the song “Midnight Train to Georgia” stuck in his head, despite the fact that we were on the ten-o-clock train to Saint Petersburg.  We all got it stuck in our heads anyway.  Thanks Jeff.

Vladimir was not the train’s origin, so there were already many people sleeping when we got on.  So we couldn’t be very loud.  About fifteen minutes after our train left the station, they turned off all the lights.  It was only after we got into bed that Erin and I realized the disadvantage of our bunk (Erin had the top, and I had the bottom).  We had the bunk that shared a wall with the bathroom, and every time someone flushed the toilet, the wall vibrated violently.  So throughout the night, every time someone used the bathroom, we woke up.  It was extremely unpleasant.  But when I was asleep, I slept pretty well.  I thought I would wake up when the train stopped in Moscow, but I only woke up once for about two seconds when someone flushed the toilet.  Emily couldn’t believe that we all slept through that because apparently there was some shady deal going down with the men across from us.  She said that a bunch of men kept coming into our area and talking suspiciously with our neighbors.  But for the most part, the train ride was way more comfortable than I had expected it to be.


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