The TEE-hee Don (that is, the Quiet Don) is an express train that runs between Rostov-on-Don and Moscow. It leaves Rostov 1:30 p.m. most days and arrives Moscow 7:30 the next morning. Several times now I've taken that train from Rostov to Moscow to catch a flight from Sheremetevo-2, the international airport, back to the US. Most recently was early April. Care to come aboard?
Advantages to taking the train include catching up sleep. And playing UNO. And gazing at the vast country side as it whizzes past. The train is like an inexpensive hotel. And considerably less expensive then flying. Disadvantages include needing to leave home 18-some hours earlier than if catching the early flight from Rostov to Moscow at 6:35 a.m.
Here's a quick shot of the PLOKS-kart wagon just before we pulled into Moscow. Plokskart is open like this. You can walk along and see everybody in the wagon: There's no privacy. Plokskart can be a bit of a shock at first to a foreigner because it's so cozy. But it's significantly less expensive than the kype (Koo-PAY) wagons. And I have come to prefer ploxkart because there you get to meet more people -- potentional UNO partners, it's less stuffy and, best of all, there's more luggage space. And luggage space is something that I cherish.
This lady was my neighbor on the train. She was assigned the lower berth opposite me. There are four sleeping births: two upper and two lower. The upper berth has advantages because you can just hop up there and have your own quiet little world and sleep or read. The disadvantage to the lower berth is that you need to share it if the top berth person wants to sit for a while. But the plus to the bottom berth is having easy access to the little table. Because eventually I find myself wanting to drag out the laptop and edit photos. Photos for You, dear blog readers. =)
The koo-PAY is a higher class of train travel. And you know what that means - fork over more rubles. But look at the nice corridor with curtains. These shot was from a trip to Moscow, March 2006.
Well, here are two nice ladies enjoying tea in their koo-pay, March 2006. Notice the nice tablecloth. That's part of the deal in that class of train travel. Nice table cloths and such. Koopay compartments have sliding doors on them, so there's a bit of privacy.
Boiling water is available in each train car. Perfect for a cuppa tea and the train provides these glasses and glass holders. Surely Czar Nicholas II sipped tea from something this elegant. Of course after he got booted out of power, his tea time ritual likely changed.
Being an express train, the Teehee Don makes few stops. But at each stop are entrepreneurial folks selling food. The choices range from dried fish to alcohol to chips, candy and boiled potatoes. This lady was selling homemade pastries filled with fruit or maybe cabbage and potatoes. She kindly allowed herself to be photographed, although she did say with a laugh, it's better to buy than to photograph.
Here we are, early morning at Moscow station, Kozanski Vogzal, March 2006. There's something romantic, something poetic about this station. Reminds me of being in a movie from the 1940's. Not that I've actually done that, of course.
Say, have you done the train bit in Eastern Europe? Was it dramatic? Please share where you went and what you did. And how you liked the bathrooms. =)