I went to Russia when I was younger, travelling by train through chill thick forests from Riga in Latvia, all the way to the extraordinary Moscow and classical St Petersburg.
On the way into Russia the train was stopped in the middle of the night for the border military to board the train to check our passports and visas were in order. They had machine guns and military uniforms, and they shone torches on our visas.
On the way back to Latvia I travelled on an overnight train which had little bunk beds. It was freezing! I opened my bags and pulled on every single piece of clothing I could find and lay on the bottom bunk shivering.
After a while an elderly lady sitting across from me wearing a little red kerchief thingie on her head came over and covered me with the blankets she had brought. She said some stuff in a language I couldn’t understand. I said some stuff in English, which she couldn’t understand. And then she left me to sleep, all toasty and warm.
In the early morning she came back for her blankets before hopping off the train, somewhere between St Petersburg and Riga.
What a nice old lady.