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Our Man in Russia: on the day train to Moscow

Our reporter on the spot, Peter T’Kint, about traveling by train in Russia.

Train station in Moscow © Belga Image

It was with a heavy hangover, that the Belgians yesterday, through the night of St.-Petersburg have gone astray. A bit lost, after the opdoffer of the shutdown. So should the Brazilians have felt. And the Japanese people. The French, they partied further.

It’s still weird, if you kills time until the train departs, around a quarter past five in the morning. Around three hours, as the nightlife reaches its peak, it is already light. In bar Madagascar the night is balmy, the karaokemuziek especially Latin, thanks to the presence of Colombians, Brazilians and Mexicans, and dance the girls challenging. Short gerokt, compared to foreigners what aanhalig, with economic intentions. If you have the time to kill, swipet with long artificial nails gracefully over screens. Girls are everywhere the same. Outside, we see there are a few artistic poses to adopt, with the backdrop of the illuminated buildings of this prachtstad. Instagrammeisjes.

Egg so after we miss the train, because we are on the wrong station. A taxi driver wants us to do, but asks for 3000 rubles (about 40 euro). A woman, who just arrive by train, hear about it and shoot us for help. They let us the taxi they ordered to take, and even pays for the ride. That costs 200 rubles, 2,5 euro. The taxi drivers.

Somewhere can understand, says a Russian, that afternoon on the train, in the restaurant in front of us is sitting. Or we life here expensive find? No so. If you watch out, Uber is even cheaper as transport, transport, food and drinks not expensive at all. For us, at least. For the average Russian. A ticket for the match – he is a big football fan – cost $ 150. For many Russians is that the equivalent of a monthly salary. Therefore, all attempts to coin, to strike out taalonmachtige foreigners.

What we find Russia? We are full of praise. Helpful people, free train, free use of public transport, supporters are pampered, very clean everywhere. He laughs: “The problem is, starting next week, we live in a different country.’

He does the story of a group of French people who are here on exchange came to his school. He got as a teenager, three years of French, and ten years of English. When they came to France, went was in april and the weather was warm there. They could even swim in the sea. When the French, in their turn, in april came, that was the worst possible moment: the snow was melting, and all of the garbage that the Russians all winter on the street were thrown, came to expose. He laughs. But not to worry: at the beginning of may, there is the tradition that they are also self cleaning. Every school, every company will get his own territory assigned and must be cleaned up.

But still complains he is not. Different than ten years ago are wages punctually paid, you don’t need to wait for months to get your money. And who ondernemersbloed, his plan to draw. There is the work. The disadvantage: you can be every day or a bad joke expect. Three years ago you had to go for 1 euro, but 40 roubles changed hands. From one day to the other depreciated to the government that to 100. Meanwhile dropped to 78, but it is clear: for them, the cost of living is higher and travel to Europe more difficult, even though my neighbor, who is in construction, that regularly, ” he says. In november they have a few free days and then there are cheap flights to Amsterdam. There, he rents a car and as he explores the Benelux. At Ghent and Bruges and, in general, Belgium, he is love. Because of our football _ he was made a fan of the Red Devils, but also the Belgian beers here, boycott or not, everywhere to find.

If we are satisfied with the semi-final, he asks? We would have to. They have about 130 million people, and could with difficulty be 11 good football players find and were very glad that they are out of the group fell away. We seem to be talent was. But he understands our disappointment: “You are playing soccer better than the French, and then dared to go out.’

We took the train to also have that experience. Eleven hours of relaxing, a sleeper car, which will take us back casts in the time. The time of the holiday camps in the direction of Switzerland. Narrow couchetten, the up of the bills, the monotonous hum of the engine. Sometimes, the train stops in the middle of nowhere, and then a little later to drive, after a quick train ride to us is passed. The view is equal to: trees, trees and more trees. And in a village. Our friend laughs: “We have a suit room. That strikes me always as I in the west am. Everything is taken up up. Not with us.’

In his free time, he builds himself also boats, which he then in the river near his hometown of departure. He laughs: ‘Two days of work and then a week of sailing. And afterwards recycling we the quantity.’ He shows beautiful photos and laughs. ‘After one week, new head. What beer to drink, talk with friends and watch the sun go down and a quarter of an hour later again on the rise. In this time of the summer spectacular.’

What we have noticed: the staff on the train. Each wagon is still managed by someone. In the restaurant they are with five, I can count at first sight. The railways are celebrating their 180th birthday, we read in a leaflet and on some points they are modern – there is also a high-speed train and the ordinary train is also wi-fi, but at some points seem to be the old Sovjetjaren still present. Outside: occasionally diving old wooden houses, dark stained, and in our gardens we see women with a headscarf their vegetables grow.

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