李明熙、Kimberlogic:西伯利亞鐵路之旅(下)—— 每一程也是種新體驗

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第二程車從 Tyumen 到 Irkutsk,坐 Firmeny 車款的三等車。

西伯利亞鐵路之旅(下)/李明熙

沒有其他人訂上層位置,我倆獨佔二等車的四人車卡。

西伯利亞鐵路列車車款眾多,我們由莫斯科分四程車坐到北京,就坐了 4 款不同等級的列車。

頭一程車從莫斯科到 Tyumen,坐的是 Express(скорый)三等車 Platzkart。俄國人出門,一般都會坐 Platzkart,價錢平是一個原因,另一個原因竟然是安全。下層乘客的行李放在床下底,要揭起整張床才能取出,而上層乘客的行李,則放在貼近車頂的架上,不攀爬根本觸不到。

雖然車廂完全沒有私人空間,但 Platzkart 極受單獨女乘客歡迎,大家你眼望我眼,是互相監視,亦是互相守望,總比跟三個陌生人在關上門的二等車廂安心。

第二程車從 Tyumen 到 Irkutsk,同樣坐三等車 Platzkart,但列車是 Firmeny(фирменный) 車款。比起 Express 列車,Firmeny 車廂設計較新,每卡都有充電插頭,冷氣長開,車長定時清潔廁所,有如酒店般乾淨,而價錢只比 Express 貴一點,資金許可的話,坐 Firmeny 不會讓你後悔。

Irkutsk 到烏蘭巴托,及再到北京的兩程直通車,我們都坐二等車。如願以償,沒有其他人訂上層位置,我倆獨佔四人車卡。而到烏蘭巴托的列車是 Firmeny,軟墊床鋪,但卻沒有餐卡,不過車上熱水 24 小時供應,可以沖杯麵、茶或咖啡。我們乾糧充足,連滴漏咖啡亦早有準備,令其他乘客羡慕不已。

列車過境手續簡單,只要留在車廂,兩國的出入境職員、海關及軍人輪流進來檢查,展示一下行李,回答簡單問題便過關。然後上車的是來黑巿對換貨幣,匯率竟不比巿面差,我們便把手上的盧布全部換成蒙古圖格里克。

最後一程到北京的列車,是中國產列車的二等硬卧,車卡沒有冷氣,只得一把電風扇,日間穿越戈壁沙漠時熱得要命。因為中國車軌跟蒙古和俄羅斯的尺寸不一,過境後需要更換轉向架,我們在二連入境大堂等 3 個多小時才能返回車廂。不過,換了中國轉向架後,列車行駛時,比之前兩國的都平穩和寧靜得多。

Russian Visa Registration/Kimberlogic

We still had a few days left in Germany after I had my passport returned to me with the Russian visa in it and since I felt no more stress or anxiety about our next destination, I started searching for tourist activities in Moscow and looking into potential stops along the Trans Siberian Railway. The more I researched, the more I realized I was not in the clear with the visa situation.

When I went to the visa office in Berlin to collect my passport and visa, no one said anything about visa registration once I enter Russia. I have never had to register a visa before and I had only heard of having to do this once before when Ming Hay did his bicycle journey from Germany to Hong Kong.

During Ming Hay’s bicycle journey, he did not register his visa when he entered Kazakhstan and that created big problems for him. He was delayed a few days and had to pay a large sum of money to “fix” the situation. Knowing his experience and reading horror stories on the internet, all of that stress came back to me.

If you stay in Russia for seven days, you must register your visa. In order to register a visa, your host or a hotel must do it, you cannot register your own visa. We started counting the days, subtracting weekends and public holidays, but even with the subtractions, I was still at eight days.

We had booked an Airbnb in Moscow and the host was away on holiday, so we had the place to ourselves. Normally that would have been a great surprise, but in the case of my visa, it was a blow. We had already reserved our train tickets and decided to stop in two Russian towns along the way; Tyumen and Irkutsk.

Tyumen is a small town, very north in Siberia. We only stopped for one night to shower and stretch after being on the train for two days. This was another place that we had booked ahead of knowing about the visa registration. We booked a beautiful Airbnb entire apartment. Again, no host, and we weren’t in the town long enough for someone to register my visa, even if that option was available.

Luckily, we had not booked a place to stay in advance in Irkutsk. Irkutsk is a city in Siberia, close to lake Baikal and near the Mongolian border. There were so many nice apartments here on Airbnb, but in order to have a shot at registering my visa, we decided to book an international chain hotel for the three nights we spent here.

At check in, they copied my passport and visa and the next day handed me my visa registration card. It was so simple, I didn’t have to do anything, but I needed to stay at a hotel to get it done properly.

The funniest part about this whole ordeal was when we left Russia and had to face immigration. I handed the officer my passport along with the visa registration card. Immediately, the officer took the registration, without even looking at it, and handed it back to me. I later found out that the visa registration only matters if a police officer stops you on the street. Immigration does not look for it, or even care if you do it. At least in the end, I had played by the rules and was free to leave Russia without any incident.

我們的 #Home2HomeTravel

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李明熙、Kimberlogic 雜碎集

我們沒分東方或西方思想,只想以雜碎的遊歷去建立自己的世界觀和價值觀。We are neither eastern nor western mind. We just want to establish our worldview and values through traveling. 【李明熙】 曾用七個月時間從柏林踏單車回港,又不自量力參加蒙古越野單車賽。現從事影像製作、旅遊、教育等,自我催眠周身刀。著有「陌路回家」、「單車遊牧」及「良業遊民」。 【Kimberlogic】 An American who resides on the small island of Peng Chau, in Hong Kong, has a passion for traveling, partaking in local food and drink, different cultures and customs and watching people react to the world around them.

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