Saturday 20th February
At 5:15 this morning we had arrived in Berlin where the Prague section of the train was uncoupled and moved to the rest of its train which had come from another part of Germany.
By daylight we were speeding through Poznam and across the Northern European Plain with its vast expanse of low-lying wind swept agricultural land interspersed with hills of glacial sands covered with coniferous trees. There was evidence of snow along the route from Germany, but most had melted.
We arrived in Warsaw early and having left our luggage found a sight seeing tour bus.
This was ideal as, in the short time we had available, we saw the principal sights of the city. The temperature was 7C but as the afternoon progressed the wind picked up, the cloud arrived with its increasing humidity, so that it felt quite cold. As the saying goes, “the cold cuts and the wind aches”. Perhaps we will experience more of this on our journey!
Our train departed just before 7:00 p.m. and made good progress to the Polish/Belarus border.
Here we were in for a long stop. First we were inspected and checked by the Polish authorities and whilst this was going on other policemen were outside with large torches checking freight trains. A new locomotive was added and we moved slowly across the River Bug into Belarus where further checks were made, including the inspection of the compartment. By now it was 1:30 a.m. local time and we still had to prepare the train for travelling on the broader Russian track. Each carriage had its wheels arranged from standard gauge to Russian 5ft gauge. By 3:00 a.m. we were underway!