We’re pretty much in the dead centre of Russia, the heart of Siberia. The middle of nowhere. Miles upon miles of road, empty landscapes and enormous skies bounded by the furthest horizon seen away from an ocean.

And then we happen upon a city – a large city by the looks of it; an industrial, urban centre full of factories and shops, new bridges and flyovers entwined with the giant, rusting water and gas pipes common to Soviet architecture. It looks we’re in East Europe but if we drove directly south from this pont we’d end up not far from Calcutta.

As night descends we stop in a meadow behind some trees by the road and prepare the evening meal. It is about this time, when the roads are quiet, that we hear the trains on the Trans-Siberian Railway. The tracks are close by as they have been since crossing the Ural Mountains and every night it is the same – the haunting sound of very long goods trains rolling slowly past or possibly the taunting passenger trains laughing at us trying to drive across this mammoth country…

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