First off Happy Birthday to My Mother - she is 37 I think. Hope that you all had a good day in the States - I am sure that Thai Food was on the Menu for the big Day.
Today is a Travel Day - Moscow to St Petersburg via Speed Train.
Some things you cannot get away from - oh and for all you Rubes out there I do not work on anything as cool as a Speed Train
The SAPSUN train runs between Moscow and St Petersburg - a distance of over 300 Miles by car. The "standard" takes 8-9 hours to make the voyage. We elected to ride the new hip and stylish Speed Train which cuts the trip to 4.5 hours (at a bit of a cost).
For us it was worth it - first off it is a bit of a kick to ride in such new transport. The train travels smoothly and is significantly more comfortable then the claustrophobia of air travel. They do check your passport prior to boarding and have drink and food service (not complimentary however). There is an overhead compartment for luggage and closets to hang jackets.
During our commute the train topped out at 250 Km/h and made several stops. Every stop is announced as 1 or 2 minutes - and passengers are told not to get off the train - but every stop lasted longer then 1 or 2 minutes and at every stop passengers get off the train to smoke. In the Restaurant they do offer Electronic Smokeless Cigarettes for those that would like to heed to the conductors request or cannot await the next stop.
Overhead TV and Travel Information
There is a TV that had an informational Video about the train including some Siemens personnel (but no one I knew). There was also a Russian Film that played for the majority of the ride - it was in B&W and involved a school and a bunch of birds.
The Travel information in Red above rotates between English and Russian and also brings up other information such as the outside temperature which plummeted about 5 Celsius degrees the moment we left the station.
View from the Train (Click to Enlarge)
This is one of several towns we passed between Moscow and St Petersburg. This is one of the advantage of traveling via train over plane - you get to see a bit more of the country. Although we mostly saw snow - which became deeper and more prevalent at each passing --- and was ominously foreshadowing of our vacation.
Somebody at the Train Station in Moscow was Toting a rather large NBA League Logo Gym Bag. There was also some flyer handler outside the station sporting a Solchi 2014 Tee.
New York Yankees 6
Los Angeles Dodgers 2
Solchi 2014 2
Boston Celtics 1
Elliot Sadler 1
Atlanta Braves 1
Chicago Bulls 1
U of Michigan 1