At the station, after queueing for hardly 30 minutes (not the kind of wait guide books love to rant about) and triumphantly being able to spot our train on the departure board, we managed to
score our tickets to Vladimir. Unfortunately we encountered our first mistake here as well as our first success - we unwittingly bought thru-tickets to Gorky, paying full sleeper berth fare. Throughout our trip we were sure to not do this again!
During our first experience on a Trans-Siberian train, we learned that our friendly provodnistas provide wonderful little snack boxes for this journey - including a drink, chocolate, cookies, instant mash and a myriad of other wonderful things. The lower berths fold up so that you can store your luggage. There's further room above the upper berths, a space large enough to store two bodies perhaps or maybe more appropriately, two rucksacks! This was explained to us by our friendly carriage mate after she witnessed my difficulty in my inital disembarkment from the top bunk. (I started off with some half-assed acrobatic maenoever, but fell and smacked my head on something. ) I was more worried about waking her young twins, comfortably wrapped on the bottom bunk.
As June and I got ready to get off the train, of course vexing the provodnista considerably because we were supposed to be staying on until Gorky, we accidently pulled down a curtain on the carriage and hurriedly tried to fix it, in vain. Stepping onto Vladimir's platform, we were excited to be officially starting our Trans-Siberian trip.