Thursday 25th February
Overnight our train headed southeast from Perm and finally crossed the Ural Mountains. 1777km from Moscow we crossed the border between Europe and Asia. This may be Asian Russia but we are still 260km from the start of Siberia. In the early hours we stopped at Yekaterinburg which was the birthplace of Boris Yeltsin and where Tsar Nicholas II and his family met their deaths at the hands of the Bolsheviks.
We awoke to find ourselves in snow covered Siberia. This mixture of farmland, frozen lakes and birch forest continued across this vast landscape.
By late afternoon we had reached Omsk. We are another hour ahead of Moscow but still the station clocks show Moscow time. We entered the station by crossing Irtysh River bridge. The river was frozen from bank to bank. People had been driving on ice roads along the surface and on the river banks were large numbers of cranes awaiting the loading and unloading of ships once the ice melts.
We ate Russian fayre again in the trains restaurant car – beef and pork with interesting, but tasty, combinations of potato, cheese and mayonnaise.
Our train continues overnight to Novosibirsk and beyond. Daytime temperatures now are a little above or below zero, but well below zero at night as one witnesses at the first morning stop when ice is broken from the bogies and steps to the coaches. The windows are getting dirty on the outside from the blown snow and salt used to keep the track clear.