Monthly Archives: October 2020

From Udomlya with Love – and Fresh Electricity.

There’s a town in Russia that’s situated almost precisely at the mid-point between Moscow and St. Petersburg. It goes by the name of Udomlya. You’ll no doubt not have heard of it. Not many Russians have heard of it; I hadn’t heard of it either until last week when we went there! For I don’t have an encyclopedic memory, and I tend to study geography through personal field visits!

So what were we doing in this little-known town? Well, just to the north of Udomlya there’s a lake of the same name, and on one of its banks is a place to which we paid a visit: the Kalinin Nuclear Power Plant.

// You think Udomlya sounds a little funny/stage in English? It sounds no less funny/strange in Russian! I had a quick look on the net for the etymology, and it claims it comes from the Finno-Ugric, but to me it sounds Slavic. Can any of you, dear readers, confirm the origins?

Now, much as I’d love to show you pics of this fascinating industrial installation, I’m not going to show you one! I didn’t take any! (Blimey: that must be a first.) For this is critical infrastructural object – no photography allowed, not by visitors at least. Some of the nice folks who showed us round – they were permitted to take photos, but even then – only in special designated areas. Accordingly, you’ll just have to settle for their handful of pics (and this here short text of mine)…

Read on…

Ooh-la Yarlu.

Multicolored mountains aren’t the rarest natural phenomenon in the world; however, not every mountain range can boast such a natural oddity…

The most multicolored mountainous paysages on the planet are without a doubt those in Zhangye, China. There are the yellow-red volcanic landscapes of Kambalny and Koshelov on the Kamchatka Peninsula, which are also simply marvelous sights to behold. Then there’s the multicolored Ausangate ‘rainbow’ mountain in Peru, and the Quebrada de Humahuaca in Argentina. And last but not least there’s the Yarlu valley in the Altai Mountains: also brightly colored, only in uniquely pastel hues, and also well worthy of inclusion into the list of the coolest multicolored mountains of the world:

How the soil/rocks/rubble here came to be of such interestingly unusually vivid colors – I still do not know. What I do know is they’re an uncommonly fascinating sight to see.

The marbled mountains came into view en route to the valley – around five kilometers from it:

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  • F1 Grand Prix Turkey 2020
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The Amazing Technicolor Altai Mountain Passes.

Another day – another beach, sunlounger, pool, cocktail, cigar… Wait. No! That’s not how we do summer vacations! It was indeed another day – but it was in the Altai Mountains, which one could call the Russian ‘middle of nowhere’ (or at least one of them:). No sandy beaches or cocktails here. Still, the sun was out – and we were two thousand meters nearer to it than down on any beach. No sunloungers or cigars for us today either: we had a full day’s mountain trekking ahead of us…

Once we’d set out, the views of mountains seemingly colored in in pastel shades came into view almost immediately. Clearly, this was going to be another of those walk (better – sit), behold and meditate days )…

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Altai-2020: meditative-mountain-passive.

Another day, another Altai!…

We were met upon waking on the ninth day of our expedition by a warm sun, as if hinting that the rainy days of our trip were behind us (which turned out to be false). Ahead of us this day – a steady stroll to the musical accompaniment of trickling streams and singing birds. There was a touch of rain ‘insignificant precipitation’ (– D.Y., our main guide, from the tour agency Altai-Geed), but only for a short while later in the day. But early morning, the main thing was that the wind was plentiful enough to blow away the mist, setting up the day to be perfect for walking…

The views – oh my gorges!

No glaciers just yet, but clearly glacial effects all over the barren, rubbly ice-scooped landscapes…

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Crazy bridge over very troubled water.

The bridge theme has cropped up a few times already in this here Altai-2020 series, but now – finally – the time has come to meet the maddest bridge of them all. But would it still be even there, we thought, waking one morning. Maybe it had been washed away by the fast flow of the Iedygem river?…

Yep – as you can see: still there. Good job; otherwise we’d have had to circle back a real long way and cross a different bridge. Below, the river as high and agitated as ever…

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Fun and games, laughing and joshing – half-way up an Altai mountain!

Finally!…

Finally, we pulled off getting into a nice straight line for a proper, full-posse, Altai summer trekking photo! Phew! (No, I don’t know why it took so long for it to happen:).

And here’s an action shot – us doing the Altai trekking thing, on a beautiful sunny day, trekking sticks in hand, heading to our next river, mountain or mountain pass! ->

Ahhh. So nice to walk in these here wilds under such clear blue skies amid such lush landscapes all around!

Read on…