The journey? Six whole days on the Trans-Manchurian from Moscow, Russia to Beijing, China. The diary? Below.

The sleepers are more comfortable than anticipated. We’re in second class, so third class would be more open, less private.

I’ll admit, the cabin space for three people is cramped. This train journey seems to be a tourist draw, seen a few foreigners already.

When we boarded last night, the fella managing our car was overly friendly, kissing Nora’s hand as I was filming her entrance on the train. I’m pretty sure he grudgingly kissed mine to be polite. That guy is for Nora all the way. Should I be happy or insulted?

The landscape?

Mucho trees turning into fall colors, reminds me of Canada a lot. I approve. What is interesting? Some of the houses seem built with matchsticks, like a strong wind could blow them over with one huff.

They look abandoned, and an observer wouldn’t know if anyone lived there until the eye catches sight of a laundry line straining with clothes or a garden patch teaming with cabbage. A touch of desolation hit the senses when I saw the occasional abandoned car or truck.

BIG PROBLEM: Constipation! My body is pretty regular, so when it can’t go, especially when it needs to. Ugh.

The bathrooms do have toilet paper, paper towels, and bars of soap. I even got my own towel. Not sure what I expected.

Food is spotty. Lots of processed food available. Chips, buns, dried meats, beer galore, no fresh vegetables save the occasional fruit, which they have maybe two of at a platform stop.

Sometimes there’s little time to go into a larger station and find hot food. Stops are either 10 or 20 minutes in total.

Ate in the dining car and consumed a greasy piece of salmon, some cucumbers and tomatoes… I overpaid! 380 RUB, that’s $12.50 CDN! Not cheap, so we’ve relegated ourselves to hunt for food in the shops or enterprising housewives who bring their home cooked wares for sale at a stop.

Heaven help me.

Day One video:

We would like to thank Real Russia for assisting us with arrangements and tickets for the Trans-Manchurian. Their expertise and knowledge was a great asset to the Ultimate Train Challenge team.