Monday 31 Jul
Lovely Lydia and the defeat of the King of Cheese...
To answer Sas's message finding someone drowned in booze over here will not be a problem. There are men in suits drinking from around 10am onwards. I think they think it is the same as coffee or coke! No one bats an eyelid.
So we have completed the first leg of the Trans Mongolian - Moscow to Yekaterinburg. We had thought we would use this time to slim down due the bleak veggie fare... we had not however bargained on the absolute resolute need of the Russians to ensure we are well fed at all times. We shared our cabin with the loveliest Russian couple - Alex and Anna. They insisted on sharing all their food with us and completely took us under their wings in defending us from vendors, sorting us tea and sheets from the provodnitsa etc. They even asked us to come and stay with them, but alas we had to move on as we had already booked a homestay at our destination.
Yekaterinburg is mainly known for being roughly on the line where the European continent becomes Asia (scientifically proven!) and where the Romanovs met their untimely end in 1918 (the last Russian Tsar). We are staying with the sweetest little old lady called Lydia who's English is as limited as our Russian but insanely we manage (or me rather than Andrew I guess) to talk for a few hours every night. You know how much I can talk!!! We have also sampled the delightful Russian brekkie of VERY salty porridge. ODL that was hard to stomach first thing!
Andrew has finally been defeated by cheese. We asked for all the veggie stuff at a Georgian Russian restaurant. Everything came with cheese. We even got a bowl of melted cheese. Finally Andrew had to admit that even he - the King of all Cheeses - needed to step down before completion.