Arrival in UB
The last leg through Mongolia offers only about an hour of daylight through the open steppe before reaching Ulan Bator.
Eating on the train has its challenges. The kiosks on the station platforms offer mostly snacks. Around the clock sugar and salt. The Russian dining car has been de-coupled and left in Russia. It's a life of perpetual motion for the cook who I notice hasn't bothered to get out of the train at any of the stops.
The sights coming into Ulan Bator ('UB' to locals) are familiar - I've travelled through these parts of Mongolia by train and car. We arrive as the sun is rising. The light is low and sharp (the light is always sharp in UB) so everything is silhouetted for a few minutes. There’s a swirl of steam, smoke, porters, taxi drivers, meet’ers and greet’ers and parcel collectors. The train empties in about 10 minutes.
The journey has ended after 96 hours and 55 minutes (we arrived 5 minutes early) - and 6266 kilometers. Perceptions are of course many and varied: the most enduring being of Distance, Space (upwards, sideways), the Other Russia (out of Moscow), massive amounts of stuff that comes out of Siberia (by train), and the vast supersized marvel that is the Trans-Siberian Railway! Finally, I've been there and ticked that box.
- Sony ILCE-6000