Next train ride, another overnight, to Novosibirsk, but the first one without a border crossing. Train was nice, but nothing special. We only had one compartment companion, a very quite man, who didn’t speak English and was also not very interested in hand signal communication. He did share his food with us (He had boiled eggs, very nice). As this time it was a long overnight, I tried to actually find the mysterious train shower. Every train of the fast class is suppose to have one, but nobody really knows where it is. Russians don’t use it, backpackers don’t want to pay the fee. I first learned the word for shower (pronounced Dusch, like in German). After asking around in three successive train cars, I found a train attendant that was genuinely surprised, brought me to the shower room and immediately started taking her stuff out it. Didn’t figure out if she slept in it or just stored random stuff. As nobody ever seems to use it, it kinda made sense for her. Anyway, the shower wasn’t bad, except that the floor is actually a metal grid and you stare directly at the tracks. Fun.
Novosibirsk wasn’t our first choice, we wanted to go to Tomsk. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time until the next train and Tomsk was pretty far away (like 6h). The relatively fancy hotel was for business people, it had free WiFi, a steak restaurant and a strip club. Otherwise Novosibirsk didn’t look much different than Irkutsk/Europe. A funny thing was the railroad museum. When we told the security guy we wanted to visit it, he almost fell over backwards. He had to get the museum curator to unlock the door. It was freshly renovated, but had no English guide or signs. So we just look at the pictures and models while the curator followed us three steps behind, switching stuff on and off as we passed it. One of the weirdest museums ever.
The next train, to Moscow, was long (2 nights), otherwise boring. I got used to the metal grid in the shower. We were really good at getting the nice foods from the stations. Only really cool think was when we crossed the Europe/Asia border in the Ural mountains.