yet more hours on the train
27.09.2012 - 28.09.2012 20 °C
Steve and I awoke in a delirous state. We were sooooo tired and had to drag ourselves to the bus which took us to the train. Once we got on the amazing train it was straight to sleep for a few hours. This was up there as the best train we have been on as the toilets were clean, there was a shower, good hot water facilities, it was carpeted and we had window! The pretty major negative was that the pillows were made of sticks. No joke it was a bag of stick inside a pillow case and it was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever put my head on. No way could I sleep on it. When I woke up (not on the pillow) we were well and truely in the gobi desert, which was not rolling sandhills but endless non-district plains of groundcover. It was beautiful in its huge extent. We spent the day chilling out on the train, sleeping, chatting, taking pictures, reading, eating and taking in and photographing the gorgeous view and very beautiful sunset. Pretty much we have become experts at the long train travel thing. We are all very good at killing time.
The mongolian border control was boring and time consuming, hopefully eating my last meal of instant noodles ever. We were never sure exactly when we passed over the border but we did stop soon after and the chinese officals came on and collected our passports and then the long jolting process of changing the bogey's began. We moved up and back the line slowly inching towards the train sheds and then jolting back again as each carriage entered and was disconnected, although we had no idea what was going on at the time. We entered the sheds and our carriage was lined up next to other carriages on our train and thus gave us a great view of what was happening. As with the Ukrainian borders, the carriages are seperted and then jacked up into the air, the bogey's taken out and the new ones put in place. Here though they had automated the process of pulling the new bogey's into place. We took many pictures but once we got our passports back during the changing process I feel asleep absolutely exhausted and oblivious to the raucous noise that Chris and Steve were making.
I awoke at a normal time and felt as stiff as a board, they were not the most comfortable train beds I'd ever experienced. The scenery outside now was completely different to all we had seen through Russia and Mongolia, with dramatic mountains and fields of crops lining the trainline through China. At one point in the morning we excitedly saw the Great Wall of China weaving up the mountains! Definitely made the train for me! It was another glorious day and I loved being able to stare out the window at the scenery for hours! The last 2/3 hours was spent going through 60 tunnels cutting through the mountains. It looked absolutely beautiful outside, we were all quite excited to be going back to warmer weather!