Moscow - Minsk - Warsaw - Berlin - Amsterdam

Moscow, may 22

The time to go home arrived. Dined in the hotel "private style", etiquette nor decorum required...

Trolley is twice the weight it was at departure from home, 5 weeks ago. Onno escorts me to the busstop. Feel weird. After five weeks together, now on the road alone.

Farewell in Moscow... ..making acquaintance with Larissa Change of bogies.. ..and automatic coupler
for conventional drawgear

By bus and subway to Belorusskaja railway station, being the railhead for westbound trains. My train, 21MJ, is scheduled for departure at 11:44 pm. Some time to kill and look around. The majority of trains heads for Brest and Minsk in Belarus.
My train consists of 8 carriages and is propelled by locomotive ChS7-051. Destinations of the respective carriages is Vienna, Cheb, Prague, Amsterdam, Brest and Basel. The engine will head until Viasma.

Belarus, may 23

More or less immediately after departure I went to sleep and woke up short before arriving in Minsk. No bordercontrol between Belarus and Russia. Quick stroll in Minsk and a chat with the provodnitsa. Her name is Larissa. Quite the opposite of our previous provodnitsa on the Irkutsk-Moscow run.
Communicating is limited since her English is at par with my Russian. Gestures and pointing is the language.

Belarus-Polish border
in Brest
.. .. ..

In Minsk two BC (Belarus Railways)-coaches were added: one for Prague and one for Basel. Same engine still heading.
Train is well patronized but not full. My coach houses a 9-member family heading for Amsterdam and several with German destinations.

It paid off that I hit it off well with Larissa: I can use her fridge and it is now well stocked with Coke, butter and Nutella...

Landscape is very similar to Russia but here the general impression is cleaner and better taken care of.

The break in Warsaw enabled me to buy cold Cokes. Back on the platform an engine change was going on. The new one was stickered with Eurofootball 2012-advertisement. The driver offered me a felt pen and asked if I would mind to add my signature to the many that already were there... I signed both sidewall and drivers' door!
A bar-coach till Berlin and four coaches for Amsterdam were added. The run to Amsterdam was quiet and unspectacular. Dinner in the bar: salmon, rice and cold Polish beer.

The Prague section
as train #404
Engine change in Warsaw ..but not as usual.. graffiti..!

may 24

Arriving in Amsterdam at 9:59am, finding Onno on the platform!! Made it to Rotterdam together, a last busride home and meeting my parents at my place.

It is over. Six incredible weeks in the company of a super travelling companion!! Never before did the Coke jet out of my nose during the many laughing fits that we had. Thank you Onno! Personally I did not enjoy it at all but I only did it to make you feel OK...

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