Moments during the journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway
On the Olkhon island, Lake Baikal, 22nd of August 2013
…We were cycling to the southern tip of the island through a vast, yellow flatland. It
was magic: feeling so small and looking down the endless dirt road, stretching as far
as you could see. The only sound that I could hear when I stopped pedalling was this
distinctive sound of anybody can hear: the sound of our own existence, of our body.
This muted, travel-like, silenced deepness that is clearly audible if you listen
carefully… And that was something that completely soothes you; the thought that
although you are the smallest feature into this featureless landscape, you are indeed
alive and vibrating. You are breathing out life.
After a while we found the beach that we wanted. Countless cows were grazing
peacefully around. It was an empty beach, nobody was there. We left our bicycles
and we quickly ran into the lake. The water was freezing cold and we could feel that
our feet would disappear if we stayed more than a minute in it. Of course the whole
thing was utterly refreshing; the water was crystal clear. Sunlight rays made it really
bright. A deep blue diamond that accepted our bodies in it. The sand was like the
sand back home; a typical Greek island type of sand. That amazed me. Fortunately it
was hot outside the water so we decided to lie-down and relax under the sun, even
though we were into the extremes of Asia…
In the train to Khabarovsk, next to the Chinese border, 25th of August 2013
…The sun is up again. I feel safe that even out here, the Earth still works on its rules.
I am happy that I can see the sun going up to the sky and that I can see plants and
trees outside the window that are recognisable. It’s a strange feeling, rather silly and
unexplainable, but that’s how it is when you find yourself so far away from home;
outside your limits, your ‘comfort-zone’. Out here I think that I’m experiencing
something completely fictitious while it’s just another part of our planet. A planet that
I share along with the Russians or the Australians or the Eskimos in Greenland; just
a bit further from my home country.
The train smells like feet. You feel the whole train is packed with human-beings but
you can’t actually see them. It feels deserted. You can sense that the train, although
it’s moving forward to Vladivostok, it’s actually asleep, but alive. Like its passengers.
The railway has a pulse. As well as Russia. Russia smells like Life! A strange kind of
After so three days in the train, the provodnitsa knows who I am. She smiles at me
when she sees me in the corridor. Train number 144 to Vladivostok –all eyes on me,
staring at me curiously; if it happens to be asked where I’m from and my reply is
‘Greece’, the eyes are like saying «what the hell are doing here?». Who really
knows? Even I do not know the answer to this anymore…