When you hear pack light…take it seriously. We had to drag 2 full suitcases, a backpack, a large purse, 2 carry-on bags, and a bag of water and food down 2 flights of stairs at the apartment because the elevator does not go up to the 5th floor anymore. At the train station, we also had to drag them across a very bumpy parking lot, down a set of stairs and up to the train car. Thank goodness for Niko and the young man who was walking by and helped Randell down the stairs. His back is stiff but holding up.
We are riding first class. It is a compartment (box) with two “beds”. I would highly recommend paying the $50 per ticket. The rocking motion of the train helps in falling asleep, or it might be the Motrin PM I took. : ) If you need to take a train, wear a t-shirt or tank top under your clothes. It is hot in the compartments! Also, take some water and snacks. They will serve tea and coffee in the morning, but did I mention how HOT it is in there. Imagine being placed in a sauna for 12 hours. We were down to our skivvies at night, and we kept thinking that if we passed out from heat exhaustion, they would find a couple of half naked Americans. That would be sight.
The bathrooms on the train are an interesting experience. It is difficult to use them while the train is rocking and rolling. The bathrooms are locked when you start slowing down for the next station. There are lots of stops, so you have to time your bladder just right. Randell considered using one of our empty water bottles during a 30+ minutes stop. : ) You might be wondering, why would they close the bathrooms? It would be easier to use when the train was stopped. It is all about gravity, air flow, and most of all keeping the station areas clean. When you “flush” it all is left on the tracks, so on a side note, do not walk on the railroad tracks.
Or facilitator is riding in another car. I am so glad she is with us on this trip.