Wednesday November 5th 2008
My train arrived 4:30am
Once I had recovered from my journey my friend, Polina, and I had a walk around Yekaterinburg to see the sights. First and top of my list was the Romanov death site, this may sound a bit morbid to want to see the place where someone died but since the Russian Orthodox Canonised Tsar Nicholas II and his family a beautiful Cathedral has been built on the site and Icons of the family have been written, that and given Russia’s rich and varied history it was almost essential to pilgrimage there and be able to say that I had seen the site where Russia had killed her Tsar and traded him in for the ideals of Communism.
Thursday- dawned bright and early as I set off to meet with some of Polina’s English students, given that Yekaterinburg is in the middle of Russia it is very rare for English people to venture there and rarer still that they happen to make their way into Urals State University to happily engage in conversation and answer any questions they are asked. After being asked about my views on
While Polina was teaching I went with her Mum to the Urals Stone museum, the Urals is renowned for its natural stones and minerals so being a proper tourist I had to visit it and experience this aspect of
For centuries the debate as to where in Russia Europe ends and
It is impossible to go to the Urals and not venture into the mountains, so on Saturday we dressed up warmly and set off through the snow to climb the nearest mountain and generally take pictures of the snow, squirrels, the forest and the view of Yekaterinburg from the summit. After putting on my industrial strength Russian tights and numerous Russian jumpers that I borrowed to stem off frost bite we set off. The mountain was beautiful and wonderful to walk, or in my case slip and side, up and down. Half way up there was a ski lodge come restaurant so we stopped of briefly for some tea and chat about what to do next. For me this conversation was very confusing because of the fact that it took place in English, Czech and Russian, Czech because the Consulate General of the Czech Republic and the Czech Lecturer at Urals State University had joined us in our adventure, English because I was there and Russian because we were in Russia after all. For me this experience felt quite surreal not only was I in
As the saying goes ‘River deep, mountain high’ well having done the ‘mountain high’ part on Saturday it was time to do the ‘river deep’ part, well not river more like lake, either way it was still a huge body of water that was semi frozen and looked AMAZING with the snowy forest surrounding it. To get to the lake we had to walk through the snowy forest I felt like I was Lucy seeing the forests of Narnia for the first time, I half expected a faun to cross my path. Sadly for me there were no fauns only real Russian Squirrels. In my view Russian Squirrels are so much cuter than the American squirrels we have living in
Being my last day in Yekaterinburg I saw the rest of the statues and monuments in the city most of which were located on the Yekaterinburg equivalent of the Arbat. There was a lovely range from the classic statue of Lenin to more modern statues of painted bears and cats. I also used this day to buy souvenirs from one of the street markets. In my opinion souvenirs are one of the nicest ways to remember the place you have visited. Photos are great to look at and show others the appearance of the place but souvenirs raise the real memories and emotions that you felt while you were staying in that place.
Tuesday and train home
After buying and being given enough food to last from