26 Feb 2013

Krasnoyarsk: & Stolby National Park


It was quite sad saying goodbye to Mr. Fredricksen (a.k.a Paul) after spending so long talking to him on the train.  He was met by two of his sons on the station, and they all very kindly insisted on showing us the way to our hostel, *SibTourGuide Hostel*, owned by Anatoliy. 


Day No.
Day
Date
Country
City
Trans-port
Kms travelled
kms total
Hours travelled
Night accommodation
12
Sun
24/02/2013
Russia
Krasnoyarsk
-
0
7706
0
SibTourGuide Hostel
13
Mon
25/02/2013
Russia
Krasnoyarsk
-
0
7706
0
SibTourGuide Hostel
14
Tue
26/02/2013
Russia
Travel
Train – 3rd Class
1087
7706
17
Train

We were both pretty exhausted after the train, so we spent the afternoon resting, planning the next day and then making a trip to the Krasnoyarsk Museum of History & Culture.  The Museum building itself I some of the ugliest we have ever seen – a hulking mass of brown concrete and angular design, made all the more unsightly by the beautiful backdrop of the Yenisey River.  But once inside, it offers an impressive collection of abstract art and photography, and a hard hitting exhibition of War, including a photo of every Russian soldier from Krasnoyarsk who has been killed in conflict since the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.  Also interesting is the permanent Lenin exhibition, featuring lots of memorabilia and personal effects.  Unfortunately, no English translation though! 

  

As part of our hostel deal, we received meal vouchers for 400 roubles a day to use at the local English School Café, so we went there for dinner.  A pretty ordinary menu but good value with the vouchers and an entertaining people watching experience – the stereotypical man with a guitar getting some fellow students singing along to popular English classics – Check, please!

 

One of the highlights of the area is the Stolby National Park, famous for its Ski Resort, dense forest and rock formations.  Anatoliy offers guided tours there for $60 for half a day, but trying to stick to our £100 a day budget, we decided to go it alone.  Taking no. 37 bus the next day from the train station, we knew we were on the right route when a fully kitted out snowboarder got on board.  Prompted by the conductor (after an initial hand gesture conversation about where we were going) we got off a kilometre early but enjoyed the walk to the ski resort and the chairlifts that took us up to the hiking area.  Sunny and not to cold we spent the afternoon hiking to Takmak Rock, and along a trail through the woods.  Back in town, the piped music that is played in most city centres we have visited, is all the more noticeable after the tranquillity of the National Park.  As is the city grey snow which lines the streets. 



   


  

  

We board the train for the 17 hour journey to Irkutsk - we are back in 3rd class (Platzkart) this time, but fortunate again with our immediate dorm mates.  We have also learnt by now that, rather confusingly, the time stated on the train ticket is not local time, but Moscow time, so we at least avoid the confusion about that which has dogged us previously!

  

  

In the next section of the dorm, some miners from Chita are on a mission to get legless!  They soon latch on to our English voices and one of them introduces himself with “Chelsea, Abramovich!!” and then gestures that Josi is beautiful but that John has crooked teeth like him!  He then tried to buy Josi chocolate & vodka not understanding whether she is a sister or wife of John, but soon gets the picture and shouts “Welcome to Russia!”


We also meet a guy who claims to have just been released from Vladivostok prison - apparently you only get sent there for multiple homicide – usually involving a foreign national – comforting.  He wants to swap his shirt for John’s watch.  John says “no” and he turns his attention to Josi, he was obviously intimidated by John’s teeth.  The evening ends up with drinks with a nice bunch of English and Australians who are travelling on the “Vodka Train” from Moscow to Beijing.  They are generally young enough to make us feel old, although there is a 35 year old lawyer among them who is disillusioned with her career.   John empathised and was reminded that he is still happy to be out.

    

Refreshments on the station platform

J&J



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