How to avoid having breakfast for lunch on the Trans-Siberian Express

Matthew Woodward struggles to get to grips with time on the Trans-Siberian Express. But worse, his secret cubbyhole has been rumbled.

6 mins

I woke to the smell of ham and fried eggs in my compartment. Unless I can now smell cooked breakfasts in my dreams, I think that Sergei must prepare his breakfast in the fire of our carriage samovar in the morning, well before I rise. 

I had to work quite hard to get up today, but we were due to stop in Krasnoyarsk at around 09.00 am Moscow time. That meant a 22-minute window for resupply of my onboard larder and to take some exercise.

People often remark that they don't sleep well on trains, but I think this might be based on the experience of just one night. If you live on a train for a few days you get very used to the movement and the noise. I slept really well last night.

For such a large station there wasn't much for sale on the platform, but I managed to get what I needed. With the sun up, and clear blue sky, it felt warmer than it probably was. The river that runs through the city was steaming with thick clouds of warm air rising in the Siberian chill.

Krasnoyarsk (Matthew Woodward)

My caviar and blini diet continues to go well. The supply of onboard caviar seems inexhaustible. The restaurant manager is called Valerie. He explains to me that he lives in Krasnoyarsk and we manage a sign language chat about a range of subjects, from local churches to hydro-electricity. What a nice chap he is. Like so many Russian people I meet, this friendliness is hidden under a gruff surface when you first encounter them.

I must start to try harder with the time zone changes today. I was guilty of having breakfast in Moscow time today – that was well past lunchtime local time, and had I lingered at the table it would have been dinner time in Beijing. The sun sets at just after 3pm Moscow time at our present position. Lets see if I can get an early start in tomorrow..

I have a slightly tricky situation to manage on board the train today. My secret window opening has been rumbled by someone, as when I returned to my compartment after breakfast I discovered that it had been locked up. I am guessing it's by Sergei, but he's not saying anything about it. 

My dilemma is that I have the key to open it up again. Before I could just pretend it was unlocked. Now, if I use it, they will know that I must have the key. I'm annoyed with myself for not being more discrete. The temperature in my compartment is now an uncomfortable 28C, but I shall leave things until darkness until I reperform my magic act.

Train to Krasnoyarsk (Matthew Woodward)

In other news, something is not right with the train today – the brakes have frozen, I think – and we are lurching all over the place. There was one big jolt this afternoon, and I heard things go flying up and down the train. 

I'm hoping they will fix this at our next stop, Ilankskaya.

More like this

Leaving Moscow on the Midnight Express

How to find secret compartments on the Trans-Siberian Express

Why you should never wash your hands on the Trans-Siberian Express

Matthew Woodward has completed several amazing long distance rail adventures using the Trans-Siberian railway and onward across Asia. From from his home in Edinburgh he has reached Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo and is now headed for Tibet. His blog can be found at Toad's Travel Adventures 

Main image: Fried eggs and bacon (

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