Saturday, November 28, 2009

Memories of the Moscow-St Pete journey...

Shocking to hear of the apparent bomb attack on the Moscow-St. Petersburg train last night which has left more than two dozen passengers dead.

The news sparked memories of a journey I made on the same line some years ago. I had the privilege of travelling the Moscow-St Pete sleeper with a party of Americans and a couple of Russians - and can testify that it is one of the world's great journeys.

As we boarded our carriage at the Moscow 'Vauxhall' - or station - early on a Friday evening, ina burly guard handed us each a dinner box and as well as the tinned caviar, I recall it contained toothbrush, soap and other goodies and we settled down to demolish a bottle of the finest Vodka (which had cost all of £2) and put the world to rights as we pulled out of the Russian capital.

I believe the ticket cost 25 American dollars, including the box of goodies - somewhat better value than the £87 my journey from Peterborough to London cost yesterday!

We woke at breakfast the next morning as the train pulled into St Pete - the wonderful city built by Peter the Great and known as Venice of the North.

I believe the ticket for the entire journey cost 25 American dollars - including the box of goodies - somewhat better value than the £87 that my journey from Peterborough to King's Cross cost yesterday...

Hope normal service is resumed soon.

By the way, I was reliably informed that Vauxhall (said with a Russian accent) has been the word for railway station in Russia ever since Victorian times when a Russian engineer visiting one of London's rail stations to see how to build a railway asked a local what they called the station...

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