27 July 2011

Asia in Russia!

This is my entry for the Selective Asia “An Asian Experience to remember” competition.

There are a lot of facts and statistics thrown around about Lake Baikal. Something about it being the oldest (30 million years), deepest (1,600m) and one of the most clear lakes in the world! It contains 20% of the world's unfrozen fresh water, about the same as all five of the North American Great Lakes... combined! But forget all that, numbers are boring. Baikal is simply one of the most beautiful places in the world.

I arrived in Irkutsk bright and early, slightly hungover, but ready to get out and explore. Irkutsk is one of the largest cities in Siberia, as well as being a mere one hour drive from Baikal. Therefore an obvious choice for a stop on my journey across Siberia.

17 July 2011

One Cat, One Baby, Many bottles of Vodka... [Russia]

I'm not sure if you are aware, but Russia is a f'n BIG country... Yeah, I have seen a map of the world before, but it doesn't really sink in until you spend days on end inside a train, and afterward only arrive somewhere near half way across. For simplicities sake (OK, I'm just lazy) I am going to group these last couple of weeks travelling across Russia togethor in one post...

My first step from Moscow was only a couple of hours East, to a town called Vladimir. It is one of the ancient capitals of Russia, and lies within the Golden Ring. These cities in the Golden Ring are all full of Monasteries, Churches, Cathedrals, Convents etc. If you are a fan of the Orthodox religion, this area is like Disneyland!

11 July 2011

Mummies and Drunk Russians [Moscow, Russia]

Tourist? ...What'? Moscow has NO idea. One of the most confusing Metro systems I have ever experienced, no metro maps, no city maps, no English ANYWHERE, no tourist office (I'm not kidding! The largest city in all of Europe has no tourist information office). While I enjoy the less touristed, more Eastern, some may call 'backwards' cities, Moscow is... extreme.

OK, now I have got that off my chest, lets get on with this post. I had an amazing time in Moscow, mainly due to my hosts - Lena and Dima... and their Scottish Terrier, Nita. They are really cool and friendly people (and dog), who I really enjoyed spending my time with. Whether hanging at home drinking 5L bottles of beer, exploring Moscow, relaxing at the park, or smoking shisha. They made a HUGE effort to spend time with me and show me the city. If it weren't for Lena and Dima, I think my view on Moscow would be a whole lot different.

9 July 2011

Paris without the a**holes [St. Petersburg, Russia]

St Petersburg; a city with a reputation; one of the most beautiful in the world. Generally I don't like to listen to the rumours. Setting expectations is generally a bad thing. But I could have had my eyes closed and fingers in my ears and still been aware of the beauty awaiting in St Petersburg.

I experienced a bit of culture shock after arriving in St. Petersburg; it took some... adjusting to. After the first few days I spent in the city I was not sure whether I liked it or not. It is a BIG city, and suffers from big city problems - a lot of cars and a lot of people. It is noisy, busy, pushy, sometimes angry. A huge contrast compared to the cities I have visited in the last few weeks. But after a couple of days I relaxed, and was able to see the real beauty of St. Petersburg. The architecture is simply amazing - you are surrounded by beautiful buildings everywhere you go. It actually reminded me a lot of Paris (without all the a**holes). The city is also divided by water; there are a number of canals snaking through the center. Apparently St. Petersburg is nicknamed Venice of the north. So comparisons to Paris and Venice in one paragraph? No question, St Petersburg keeps up with the other European big-hitters.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...