This blog comes to you from an overnight coach from Bangkok to, err, somewhere we then get on a ferry to Koh Tao. I'm not sure how long we'll be on this coach for, but it's surprisingly comfy so it'd be quite nice if it's all night. It's funny how much your standards change after spending 5 days on a train.

Where are all the women?! Seriously?! I must have slept in all these "mixed-sex" dorms with at least sixty different men by now. And do you know how many women have chosen to join these dorms? Two. Just two. What. The. Hell.

We'd heard before we left that a lot of internal flights in China get delayed. This is apparently because the Chinese Air Force control the skies, and are happy to delay domestic flights as and when they please. So, it was no surprise that our flight from Beijing to Shanghai was delayed. What was a surprise is how much hassle that actually caused us - every person on that flight had to queue up t the ticket office to get their tickets changed. Lots of angry people!

That meant we arrived in Shanghai fairly late in the day, and so we didn't get out until it was getting dark. We went to the Bund, which is a big area of shops and restaurants along the river. As we got closer, we started to see the tops of some huge and crazy looking buildings - Maybe getting to Shanghai late was more of a blessing than a curse - they look amazing at night.

The first time I wore flip flops out in Beijing, I was really surprised that, in this heat, no-one else seemed to be wearing them. Now I know why.

It has to be said, I very much doubt that anyone will ever be able to match the hospitality that has been shown to us here in Mongolia. What incredible people.

So! We had quite an uneventful time in Irkutsk, our last stop in Russia. Obviously we had a good look around the city, but sadly the plans we had to go to Lake Baikal didn't happen, as poor Rich had a funny tummy. It was very nice to have a rest from all the sightseeing though, and catch up on a lot of sleep.

Being on a train for 5 days is hard work. For one thing there's the lack of sleep. There are loads of reasons for the lack of sleep: being bounced up and down constantly, lights from towns and other trains shining in the windows all night long, going through 5 different time zones, inconsiderate cabin-mates... I could go on.

So, we've just spent 4/5 days on the train getting from Moscow to Irkutsk, and I'm learning that jet lag is still possible even when you travel that slowly over land. Not. Fair.

So on our arrival at Moscow a random stranger gave us a pass for the metro with 10 rides left on it, and when we got to the hostel we were ushered into the kitchen for a free cup of tea (with milk!) and given free apples. We were also offered free plastic cups when we asked where we could buy them for the train journey ahead. First impressions; I love Moscow! 

So me and Rich got up at 4:30am (2:30am UK time), to catch the train to St Petersburg this morning. Yes, it was horrible.

The Bridge of Love in Helsinki. This is just down the road from our hostel, and we cross it every time we go out anywhere.

Couples write their names on a padlock and lock it to the bridge, then throw the key into the river below.

Love Bridge, Helsinki

Checked out Helsinki train station today, to make sure we know where we're going on Saturday (don't wanna miss our train!). It's actually a pretty awesome looking train station. A huge old building. Might take some more photos of it when we go back, but here's a quick one I took from by the platform today...

Helsinki Train Station

Less than 24hrs in, and despite all our careful planning, we've already discovered something we need but don't have - Turns out hostels don't always have cups. We've managed to source milk, sugar and tea bags, and the kitchen even has a kettle, but there are no cups.

Why is it that when your alarm goes off to let you know that it's time to get up for work, your mind refuses point blank to pay any attention. But when you have a whole load of nothing to get on with, 4am is suddenly a perfectly reasonable time for your body to wake up...