“Inside the compartment it is the very picture of conviviality. The professional busybody assigned to our carriage shooed me and Pete and settled down in the last compartment. Why would she want to be anywhere else? Her whole life is laid out in her home on wheels, with coloured cushions, flowers, her own curtains, an icon on the wall and a singing kettle on the stove. Always on the road.

Our first-class compartment is also like a salon, with two velveteen pull-out beds, red draperies, white lace curtains and plastic flowers on the table.

The train pulls away, outside there is nothing but Russian countryside, here and there a chimney, from the speakers the soft sound of Russian songs, and quite soon the day begins to fade…”

So that’s how (to paraphrase Supergrass) we set sail from St Peeeetersburg. making use of our tiiime…
In three days we were out of there …and it wasn’t a day too soon!

Albeit for all the wrong reasons, Russia probably was the highlight of our journey and definitely an experience that’ll stay with both of us for a long time and (although we lost the car) we made it across land from Oxford to Riga in two weeks as planned. We travelled 2500 miles(ish) through 10 countries, stayed in 13 different beds (including the car once and a Russian prison) and were hosted by 7 of the nicest people we could have met. We saw parts of Europe I’ll never forget, we had no crashes, didn’t break down and didn’t squash any moose, moomins or fellow Europeans. So, all-in-all I’d consider that an overwhelming success.

It’s been said before but once again, a massive ‘Thanks’ to everyone that helped us, thanks to everyone who has been following us here (and for your messages of support) and a special big thanks to Sarah (Pete’s wife) who, from the base back home, helped us on many many occasions.

Proost, Prost, Skaal, Kippis, Na zdorovje, Prieka and Cheers
Your friend
Ian.


The Riga express. The quickest route to freedom ;-)