We were on a train from Mongolia to Beijing. After a very long stop at the border for passport checks and a change of wheels, we could finally leave around midnight. It took us most of the following day to reach Beijing.
This is article no. 9/11 in a series from a journey in 2011 on the Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia, Mongolia and China. The text is a transcript of my diary at the time.
Beijing was our final destination and end of the third train journey from Moscow. Read about our three days of experiences in Beijing in three articles. This is the first and covers the train ride.
Friday 3.6, train journey to Beijing
The table shows the stations in China. We rolled into the capital about 20 minutes late.
|Erlian||2011-06-02 21:00||3:57 min.|
|Zhurihe||2011-06-03 03:08||2 min.|
|Jining South||2011-06-03 05:47||9 min.|
|Datong||2011-06-03 07:59||12 min.|
|Zhangjiakou South||2011-06-03 10:36||10 min.|
We got into to China and sank gradually from 1500 meters to 150 in Beijing. The landscape changed to flat valleys, in some parts with ravines and narrow valleys, and it became progressively more vegetated. The Chinese have placed considerable emphasis on developing their agriculture. They have of course a much larger population to feed. It was organized agriculture, there was irrigation, there was ploughing. We saw a lot of ox ploughing but also an occasional tractor. People lay flat in the fields we passed, busy weeding. It was green, there was activity, and everywhere there was construction work.
We saw in the towns we passed high-rise buildings under construction or recently completed. We saw that the railway line was very good, the beating is not so heavy and the track was of high quality with welded transitions. Besides, the Chinese were in the process of building new roads, new bridges over rivers, etc. The roads were paved, which was a shortage in parts of Mongolia, and it was in short, a very different place to come.
As we rolled down the picturesque valleys so we dams, and even rice production, although it looked very dry. We became more and more eager to arrive.
Video to the tunes of the national anthem of China. Filmed from the train on the Trans-Siberian (-Mongolian) Railway.
Looking forward to the end of a long journey
My friends went to the restaurant wagon for breakfast, while I ate my food in the cabin. The breakfast they regretted. All five had lunch in the restaurant and we got the best and cheapest food ever. For ten dollars we got five different dishes with various meats and vegetables and a beer. It was very, very good. And it looked so delicious. The restaurant itself was not that exciting, but nice nonetheless.
Then it was to muster the greatest patience that was to be found, now that we were approaching the final destination. It was not that we were tired of being on the train, but when we were so close to the ultimate goal of the trip, one might not expect otherwise. When we rolled into the first station in Beijing, a brand new, big one, we thought that we had arrived. But we rolled on from Beijing South to Beijing Central, and I guess that’s where I arrived in Beijing last time, 26 years ago.
All chapters in this series
- This introduction
- Some very interesting and pleasant days in Moscow. That city has certainly more to offer than we imagined.
- An excursion to a wonderful city in the Golden Ring and an evening in Moscow.
- A cruise on the Moskva River, the Gorky Park, the Kremlin and the departure for Siberia.
- The days on the train, four and a half days continuously on the move
- Mongolia: Well! Not bad to come to this country, some of the remotest imaginable of all inland countries. We first went into a national park.
- A day in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia
- The train journey continues from Ulaanbaatar to China
- The train into Beijing from the border to Mongolia
- NEXT: First day in Beijing and a visit to the Great Wall
- The last days in Beijing and the return journey