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Well I promised to tell you what our lovely surprise was.. and it was this: the realisation that not only were we in 2nd class instead of 3rd like we thought we were, we also got a welcome pack (including some lovely slippers) and lunch was included. Good times!

The journey was largely uneventful, we started with 2 carriage mates, neither of whom spoke English, but who did share their food with us :o). They left about half way through the journey and that was it – Carriage to ourselves! Whoo hoo!

We arrive at Irkutsk at 2.30am and went to check out the resting rooms – these are like little dorms at each station where a weary traveller can get their head down for a few hours if they have a layover at a station in the middle of the night, or a very early or late train – In theory anyway. The ones at Irkustk were full. So, knowing our hostel was little and imagining they wouldn’t appreciate us knocking on the door at 2am, we sat in the station waiting room until 8am when we went for breakfast. We arrived at our hostel rather tired!

After a couple of hours’ sleep we headed off into town to try to get some tickets for Vladivostok to Harbin, in China. Oh and some food. We had sushi and then an early night!

Next day we went to town to photograph some of the beautiful wooden houses that Irkutsk is famous for, pics below…

Day after that we headed off to Olkhon island for a few days which is described here and here and here and here

Total Trans-Siberian distance travelled:  5185km

Total distance from nottingham:10876km