I had now decided to actually leave the group for a couple of days, and go on my own adventures. The plan was to get dropped off at an exit at the highway close to Kazan, and after that hitch-hike in, take a train or catch a bus, as that were the closest our cars were going by.
I had a bit of luck, though, as Fredrik spotted a car in need. They looked stuck at first, but had apparently only emptied their car battery, so we gave them some stating help. I got the idea to ask them where they were headed, and my luck was with my! They were going to IKEA in the outskirts of Kazan, and after I got them to understand that I wanted to go with them, they accepted. On the way there I also got to help them with the way, as they took the wrong exit, and it seems like I am more used to drive by GPS than they were. After rerouting them, we arrived at IKEA!
As I was aiming at taking a night train to Moscow, I spent some time in IKEA. As every IKEA really look almost the same, it felt nice going around, testing furniture, and buying more chocolate. I also planned with Juliya, who, together with Slava, were helping me plan my visit in Moscow for a bit, and gave me tips for a hostel, for example!
It was a little confusing trying to find the right bus, but with the directions from the mall and some people on the way pointing me in the right direction, I managed to get to the right bus with just some seconds left. On the bus there is a conductor who takes payment, and she did not now much english. Many people tried to help me by translating though, and I managed to buy a ticket. Someone also hit the rear left corner of the bus while we were at a bus stop.
After a small walk I was at the train station, and now just had to find my way to buy tickets. This part was not easy. I found the entrance to the platform, and a bagage inspector from the security followed me to the ticket hall, where most things were pretty confusing. I did not know if I could buy a ticket in the machine because of my card, passport or anything else, and were aiming at a ticket booth. They had their break times at at the windows, and most booths differed from each other, so you had to choose a line which will be short enough so you reach the front before closing. When they close ten minutes early and you have one person in front of you, it really sucks, but onto the next line. At least I met a nice girl to talk with, as I think this took a total over one hour.
When it had happened two times, I decided to try and buy from a ticket machine instead. Everything went pretty well, going back and forth to choose the right alternatives, until it was going to print the ticket. I got a recipe at least, and the text ”go to customer service”, or something like that. After standing in another line, they took my passport and recipe (that does never feel safe), and came back with a ticket maybe five-ten minutes later. Now, I was pretty tired of this, and wanted to find a library to just sit and write or surf at, or watch some Breaking Bad.
I asked a couple about the way, and they said they could show me, as they were walking the same way. On our way there, the girl met some friends, which offered me a small guided tour of the centre of Kazan! I think they studied history or something else where they had gathered this knowledge, and they were waiting on a small guided tour in an old library themselves. I gladly accepted the offer, and got a tour by some statues, the university and into the kremlin, inclusive history of Ivan the Terrible and other historical people. We went into a mosque, the Kul Sharif Mosque (where all the girls had to borrow hair covers), and a church, Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, if I recall correctly!
After their seminarium, we went to a pizza place for dinner. I had not much time left until the train would leave, so we walked to the train station, buying some food on the way that they though I should taste so I would definitely have something on the train. I also saw some cute modded bicycles outside the food shop.
I got photographs of almost everyone, and the last two went with me through security. The security wanted me to unpack my bag as they saw things in through the x-ray; probably my backup battery or likewise. After a goodbye I was now alone on the train, and went to find my kupe. This long-distance train were without seats, but instead had beds, a total of four per kupe. Some trains have a third class where there are more or less an open wagon with as many beds as possible, or a fourth class, which would be seatings. That would come later, though.
I got some nice people in the same kupe, one young man I did not speak too much to, and a mother living in Moscow, traveling with her daughter who was studying at the Moscow University. I talked with the last two about a bit of everything, including trying to get an insight about all the politics and military moves seen from inside instead of outside the country. Then it went over to talking about TV-series with the daughter, including awesome Adventure Time!
There are showers in the bathrooms which stretch up to the waist. I got some peeling soap from the daughter and took a sitting shower in there; running water is pretty nice, actually. We got dinner served, included, and after watching some Breaking Bad I went to sleep. The bed were a tad too short, though.