Real Russia Blog

Customer Tales: Vodka and friendship aboard the Trans-Siberian

Customer Tales: Vodka and friendship aboard the Trans-Siberian

How to make friends and influence people

One of the best things about travelling along the Trans-Siberian is the opportunity it provides to socialise with locals, and fellow travellers. We receive many great stories of vodka shared, and friendships formed, from those who have travelled on this incredible railway. Today we thought we would share one with you that Alla in our travel team received from a customer this week.

The experience

I just want to thank you so much for all your help on my amazing journey. Without your help and support it would not have happened. I had a wonderful time, especially in Russia. I have to say that I have changed my opinion of Russia and Russian people since my all-to-short visit, I loved Moscow and Siberia. I was so lucky to meet so many lovely people who were all so kind and hospitable, explaining things and showing me places, providing information and making me feel so welcome.

It started when I was booked into a cabin on the Berlin to Moscow train with a Russian doctor…female…she works in Paris so we had to communicate in French, our only common language….then the marvellous Vova, a Russian neurosurgeon on the Moscow to Irkustk leg….4 days of so much fun and information, he will be a friend for ever…..although we might have over indulged in all the local vodkas we found along the way….it was just fantastic.

My time in Moscow was more than I could have wished for, I love that city! I have read so many books set in, and about Russia, it was surreal to actually be there and see all those places I had thought about…… In Listvyanka I had a wonderful local woman for my personal tour guide…there were only the 2 of us and she was such great company! In Ulaan Baator another one-on-one with my local tour guide. She was not very experienced but that made it even better for me, she was so open and friendly, giving me so much insight into Mongolia. In Beijing, another personal guide. Michael was so full of information I could hardly take it all in, but a wonderful experience.

And then the fast train to Guanzhou with a young, English speaking Chinese guy sitting next to me. A fascinating insight into China and how people think. Then to Nanning and finally the last train to Hanoi…probably the oldest of all the trains that I went on but by that stage it didn't matter and I was able to have some conversation in my basic Vietnamese with some students returning to VN.

This is why I love train travel…..meeting so many people and having time to really get to know them and find out so much about themselves, their lives and the countries we were travelling through. I'm so sorry that you couldn't be there with me to see and experience all this stuff….I hope you will have the chance to do this trip one day….and make sure you come and see me in VN when you get here!!

Once again, Thank You so much for all your help in getting this to happen… you know, I was in contact with several of your colleagues in the course of getting it all together but I always felt closest to you…..

I hope that I can meet you one day to try and repay the debt I owe you. Please pass on any of this email to your boss to let him know just how happy I have been with your work!


Thank you to Bill for that fantastic feedback.

If this has you eager to experience the Trans-Siberian yourself, follow one of these links: