Tag Archives: russia

Reaching the Upper Reaches of Yenisei.

So, just how exactly did we get to the upper reaches of the Yenisei?

Well, obviously, we didn’t walk. It involved various means of transport. First, we drove 400 km from Abakan to Kyzyl. The quality of the road was bearable – it is asphalt all the way, though there were lots of roadworks. Next year it should be in better shape. It took us 6-7 hours because of the repairs, detours and time spent waiting at traffic lights giving way to oncoming traffic on the single-lane sections.

But we finally made it to the city of Kyzyl, the capital of Tuva:

However, this is where things took an unexpected turn for the worse.

Read on: A marvelous artefact next to the airport…

Yenisei: You say ‘eh?’ I say ‘wey hey!’

The Yenisei River. Many of you won’t have even heard of it. But that doesn’t make it any less of a mega river: starting out in Mongolia (!), it’s the main river of three great Siberian ones, and the world’s largest river system flowing into the Arctic Ocean. Anyway; introductions over – we headed its way after our Tian Shan adventure

…And not long after we reached it, sure enough – we were heading down its rapids in rafts.

Now for a bit of geography…

Read on: Now for a bit of geography…

Railrood Good Mood.

Railrood good mood. It’s a different, special good mood. It’s a bit like motorbike good mood. There’s not much to it, but it brings a nice, calm, reflective feeling. You just stand there, in the engine control room at the front of a train and stare up ahead along the track and to the sides at the passing landscapes. Meditative almost. I’ve heard there are long videos on YouTube showing such railroad good-mooding. It’s so much better doing the real thing though…

Here’s the junction where we turn off the ‘highway’ and onto the ‘back road’ that takes us to St. Pete along the Gulf of Finland:
Read on: Railrood Good Mood…

Meanwhile in St. Pete…

A bit like with Manchester or Scotland, folks will often tell you the weather in St. Petersburg is normally terrible. In Manchester and Scotland it normally is. But not in St. Pete!

I’ve visited Russia’s ‘second capital’ plenty of times – and the sun’s been out on every single trip! This visit was no exception.

In fact, the sun’s not just shining, it’s beaming it’s intense heat down on this corner of the globe without mercy. Sat in a traffic jam upon roasting asphalt wasn’t the nicest of experiences, I have to say.

Read on: The sun is out!…

Another Long Week: Snows & Scorchers, Politics & Hacks, Moscow – Abu Dhabi – Tokyo.

Good day boys and girls!

I’ve been a bit quiet of late – but I’ve a good excuse – I had a real tough week: the schedule was tight and intercontinental, plus alarmingly… combative…

It all started in Moscow. Now, normally come the month of May, the last vestiges of the long cold winter – snow and ice – have long disappeared, at least by a month. Not this year. It snowed the other week! The weather was so bad – cold, windy, wet – that even the May 9 Victory Day parade was partially called off (the airborne part). Ye gods! And I was soooo looking forward to it.

Bad weather causing things to be called off – hardly anything new there, right? Well, actually…

You see, in Russia, the authorities have a habit of… making sure the weather’s good on special occasions. In Russian they call it ‘shooing away the clouds’. I don’t know the details, but they somehow shoo away clouds by… doing something to the atmosphere to make sure clouds don’t come close. Playing God? Maybe. Whatever, it normally works. My question: WHAT WENT WRONG THIS TIME?! I mean, the budget for seeing off clouds for the weekend must be huge. Hmmm, I wonder…

Early doors it looked like the budget was well-spent: the sky was clear and the sun was shining:

Read on: a sudden global malware outbreak…

Russian Grand Prix in Sunny Sochi.

Sorry folks for the tardiness of this post; been up to my neck with work of late. Better late than never though…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s great watching F1 in the flesh at the racetrack. But it’s best of all watching it from the garage, if you’re lucky enough to have access thereto. It’s in the garage where the team sits, where the pressure is through the roof, where the adrenaline is pumping the most, and where the emotions run amok. And the garage experience is even more thrilling if your team is in pole position – like we were the other weekend (the first time since 2008!). But enough talk – no time for that. They’re on the starting grid!…

It doesn’t matter that we can’t see the cars themselves – we sure can hear them (the starting line’s a mere 30-40 meters away!), and seeing them on the big TV screens is more than enough.

And they’re off!…

Oh my grid. Valtteri Bottas jumped two positions ahead right from the off, and that was actually how things ended today. I’m afraid not a great deal else interesting happened today. No intrigue, nothing! Sometimes it goes like that, F1. In fact, it all resembled more a column of soldiers doing a march. Who would have thought F1 could be dull? :).

A storm cloud looked like it could have put a literal dampener on things, but it decided to stay put up in the mountains and not descend to the sea.

Read on: Familiar faces on the roof …

Riga Station – Another Moscow Must-See.

I really didn’t expect to find in Moscow yet another curious place that is mandatorily must-see – including by children. But the other day we visited one. It was the Exhibition Complex of Russian Railways at Rizhsky Vokzal (Riga Station). Its railroad scale model and other expositions aren’t all that big, but they’re ever so well done. Respect!

Ok, so, it’s not quite the Grand Maket Rossiya in St. Pete, but, in terms of quality of the models (incredible detail, precise movements…) – I’d say it’s on a par.

Read on: A wonderful exhibition!…

Happy New Year from Central Moscow!

Happy New Year folks, and hope you all had great holidays!

You won’t believe this… but this post is about… RED SQUARE! // Incidentally, the square I consider to be the most beautiful spot in Europe!

I hadn’t been in downtown Moscow on New Year’s Eve since… oooh, 15 years ago! Yep – 2001 was the last time, on Pushkin Square watching the fireworks. But I’d never been on Red Square on New Year’s Eve. What?! So this year I decided to make amends…

So how was it? Well, actually, my overall impressions were… mixed. And it’s those mixed impressions that I’d like to share with you today.

Read on: Red Square was really something!…