We are due to arrive in Kazan at 8 o’clock in the morning. Tea – or I should say hot water, is available 24/7 at the back of our car. We are supplied with a plate, cutlery and a ‘lovely’ tea/coffee cup to use during our journey. I brought my own teabags, but Svetlana always has tea and instant coffee available for us. Also cookies and candies, sometimes salami & cheese, and we can help ourselves. When you go down to get hot water, Svetlana will not allow you to carry it back to your compartment. I guess with the bumping and grinding of the train she is worried we might scald ourselves. Daylight/sunrise starts at about 3:30 am here, so one tends to wake early, or at least I did. I liked being first in the bathroom for starters and then get my cup of tea and then cuddle in to watch the countryside role by.
At 0800 precisely we roll into Kazan and walk the short distance to our hotel for breakfast. We will be two nights here at the Ramada Inn which is actually a very nice hotel. My leg is feeling so much better after a rest, but I am still wearing the brace. The day in Moscow when I overdid it, according to my fit bit, I walked 11 KM, took almost 16,000 steps and climbed 11 floors!! Floors in churches with uneven stairs I might add. My knees didn’t know what hit them!! We are averaging between 5000 & 10,000 KM each day we are out touring. So now I am taking it a little bit easier and sitting whenever I see the opportunity.
On our overnight stops we can leave our large suitcase and anything else we do not want to take with us and use just a small overnight bag. Our train car is then offloaded and put on a side track where it stays until we re-board to continue on our way. Svetlana stays with the car and/or it is locked. Great system. Almost like being on a cruise ship where one unpacks once and that is it. Almost!
How often does one get to celebrate one’s birthday in Kazan Russia?? So I decided we had to have a birthday party, and I invited our group to my hotel room for champagne. Vinod brought me more champagne and roses which was a lovely surprise. You all know how much I love flowers. By the way, in Russia, they never give an even number of flowers. Always uneven. So I got 11 beautiful roses. Then we went out to dinner. Vera, our Firebird rep, found a great Russian restaurant and we started the evening with vodka shots and pickled herring and horse meat – typical Russian appetizers. Vera & I didn’t tell anyone it was horsemeat. I guess they will know now and I hope they’re not upset with us…. Dinner ended with a delicious piece of cake and candles, and we all shared. If one couldn’t be at home with family and friends, I can’t think of a nicer way to celebrate than with this great bunch of new friends that sort of fell together and clicked immediately. We are all blessed.
L – R : Gayl & Joe, Larry & Kari, Pat, Vera, Norm & Helen, Mary. Vinod had made previous arrangements for the evening and could not join us.
Featured image – the colourful houses in Kazan.
Note: I am having problems with Wifi – not available on trains and WordPress. Being the computer nerd that I am not, I may now have finally got it working again. Cross fingers, legs, toes, eyes and anything else that may help me!!!!! Needless to say I am behind…….