Trans-Siberian Mileage: Vladivostok to Ulan-Ude

To be more precise, the trip was 67 hours, 40 minutes and change. Our train was standard but there is at least one faster train, when available, that cuts about five hours off the trip.

We traveled approximately 3,680 kilometers (~2,287 miles), which is roughly the equivalent of San Francisco to Chicago plus another 150 miles.

I am staying is a house that was built by Japanese prisoners of the Second World War. They did a very nice job. It is a three-bedroom house adjacent to the main house, and starting tonight I'll be the only traveler at the hostel. Unless another traveler arrives, I'll have a three-bedroom Siberian home to myself for the price of only 400 rubles (~$13.64) per night.

Living in the backyard is my new friend, a completely blind dog named "Shloopa," who does not have glazed-over eyes indicating cataracts or something else, but instead he quite literally has no eyeballs, just dry, empty sockets to complement his understandably skittish demeanor. Apparently he has been blind since birth, and was born to a stray mutt adopted by the hostel; however, there is no sign of his mother. Perhaps she has died or moved onto a new location. There is also a fluffy friendly cat but her name is too difficult for me to remember.

The hostel has plenty of scalding hot water, but strangely and surprisingly it can be difficult to find water of an appropriate temperature, perhaps because it is difficult to keep cold water from freezing. I don't know. I'm just happy to have hot water, efen too hot, so that I can make my freeze-dried coffee in the morning. There is no Starbucks here in Siberia.