Little by little we awoke to bright sun on wheat fields as far as one could see. Rolling hills turned into forested low mountains and valleys, and then back into farmland again.
All day we passed through countless small towns and villages, as well as numerous very large, modern, industrial cities. We were now traveling through the northern region of Altai Mountain foothills climbing further up into the small knees of the Himilayas near the northern borders of Kazakstan and China.
We began to climb slowly gaining altitude gradually, still passing cities large and small, large highesys full of cargo trucks, and long freight trains laden with coal, mineral ore, oil tankers, and containers from China and the far east.
Dinner was served in our cabins by cheerful, brightly unifirmed staff. As night approached heavy pineforests overtook the birch and mountain meadows replaced the farmlands. We could see snow-capped mountsins to the east, pink with the setting sun. We will reach the rift valleys of Irkutsk by morning. Another 1,500 kms will have passed and a five day adventure surrounding Lake Baikal awaits.