There are pleasure cruises on the Om and Irtysh rivers. The terminal for the pleasure cruises is on the Om river just off Yubileyney bridge looking towards Irtysh river. When we were there it was already too late in the season.
By tram, bus, trolleybus
Omsk railway station is about 4 km from the city center. It's most convenient to take a marshrutka (minibus) to the center. I also saw a tram line crossing the main road but I saw no tram. Trolleybuses tend to be rather slow.
We took an overnight train from Ekaterinburg to Omsk where we arrived in the morning. We travelled platzkartni which is 3rd class. Upon arrival we put our things in the left luggage (kamera khranenina) at the station for the day. Later we took another nighttrain to Novosibirsk.
Trans Siberian Railroad Moscow to Omsk
The trips on the Railroad were a lesson in what it means to be Russian, to survive with one's dignity intact even when faced with unusual circumstances. In the US there is agitation to force restaurants to stop having "unisex" bathrooms. We were four strangers in a sleeping compartment on the train, three men and a woman! No one had their dignity infringed or lost their temper; problems of "space" were solved with no major issues. When the "gang" broke up late on the second day we had our picture taken together. For the 3 Russians it was the first time they had met an American, whatever uncertainty they may have harbored at the beinging it was friendly at the end!
One of the more surprising moments was when I went from Omsk to Yekaterinbyrg. I was in a 1st class compartment, (only 2 people,not 4). I am not sure which of us was more shocked, myself or the 28 year old young lady, to discover who was sharing "their" compartment!
We did manage without losing our "cool", she spoke almost no English, I understood very little spoken Russian other than the phrases I myself spoke, so "hiting the sack" and changing in to some form of nightware was a slightly trying moment as we sought to understand and be understood. With only a few seconds of confusion we solved that issue and selpt (more or less) for 7 hours. When Morning hit we settled all issues quickly and shared some food and "home movies" I had on my computer about my family.
The most interesting scene to me was the local bazar that met us at each train station, folks walked up and down the station platform offering goods for sale to those on the train.
Oh yes, and about those "unisex" bathrooms, well the planes do it, yes even the vaulted german trains do it, so get over it, they are all "one holers"!
The compartments were TINY, perhaps two meters, long, the comparment was not even two meters wide! There was only 15 inches between the bunks; each bunk was 28 inches wide or less so that would only total 71 inches, two meters is 78 inches, can you say Narrow!
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Trans Siberian Railroad in the modern Russia
While the rail cars for the Trans Siberian Railroad are a bit cramped in their space, the train stations along the "path" are being enhance, upgraded, or at least painted and "polished"
Notice particularly the first one, the main station at Kazan, a work of art in lighting at the very least, I did not see it in daylight so I can not speak to it's architecture!
Other smaller stations along the way had been painted and refreshed.
I stepped to the edge of the loading deck on the train car at the Bogdanovin station, the station mistress seemed almost upset until I shouted out that I was an American Tourist, then she came running full tilt down the platform with a souvenir calendar from the station for me. Obiously very proud that the efforts were being noted and recorded by a tourist interested enough in Russia to ride the railway instead of the airway. It was meeting people like that that made the whole effort on the railroad trip worth while.
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Taxis, Gazelles and friends
Getting around Omsk is fairly easy. The only problem may be if you can't read the signs then you may become confused.
Learn the cyrillic alphabet, its not difficult really and you will be able to understand and possibly pronounce some words.
For about 200 rubles, you can get a taxi to just about anywhere in Omsk. At the time of my trip 29 rubles equals 1 dollar, as of this writing it is now 27 rubles per dollar.
Gazelles and busses are the most economical means of transportation. A Gazelle is a small buss similar to a mini-van.
The fare was only a few cents. you only need to know the number of the gazelle you need to take.
Russians are very friend, hospitable people and will help you. If you have an address written on a paper (in cyrillic) they will try to help you get to your destination.
I wouldn't really recommend driving all the way from Europe but if you have to you could. Anyway, it's much better to use taxis within the city or late at night.
There is a whole river to be explored by ship, namely the Irtysh river. In summer you could travel to Tobolsk etc. by river. Check out Rechflot in the river station for the schedule.
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