From Russia With Love

From Russia With Love
Perth, Australia

Perth, Australia

Things I Miss About Russia (and Cornwall):

  • Spending precious time with my father walking the coastal track from St Ives to Porthcurno, Cornwall (UK)
  • Getting to know our dear cousin Howard – a kindred Curnow and man after my own heart, who taught me that the revolution is alive and kicking (brocolli) in Kernow (Cornwall) – Kernow bys vyken!
  • The eternal conviviality of new-found friends and companions on long-distance Russian train journeys
  • Baikal’s shore, her moods, her smell, her crystal blue waters deep and her plunging cliffs and deep, soft and dark forests
  • The House of Gertruda, Baikalskaye. My sanctuary while exploring the peace and tranquility
  • Cruising the Hermitage with fast-moving and big-hearted Katya
  • The salt sweating and birch thrashing of a generic ‘banya’ experience with brother Anton, and Sergei his dad
  • Drinking local vodka and tasting delicious zakuski (закус&#1 082;и) after the banya with brother Anton
  • Drinking kbac with the vendors at ВДНХ / VDNKh (Verdenk’ha) – the former soviet ‘Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy’ in Moscow
  • Drinking medavukha on a steamy Moscow electric, Baltika Number 9 with Sasha on the train
  • Admiring
  • Being the first official tourist at Hotel Yamburg, Novy Urengoy
  • Shashlyk in the taiga-tundra with my subarctic Novy Urengoy friends Sasha (and Anna), Julia, Vera, Nicolai, Oleg, Ludmila
  • Climbing Avachinskaya (2741masl) on the southeast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, and seeing a Pacific Rim of Fire from upon high with lofty pyroclastic cones piercing low cloud blankets
  • Receiving gifts of live music on trains or at dinner tables – Thank you especially to Peter (Петр) and Yuri (Юрий)
  • The smells of the Russian Taiga. From European-Russia to Siberia and the Far East the delicate and transfixing olfactory powers of taiga beguile me still: Siberian pines, larches, firs, spruce, birch, poplar, willow. And then there’s the understory of rhododendrons, lichens and mosses
  • The ever-helpful assistance from strangers. Thank you especially to Yuri in Nihzny Novgorod, the chain-smoking RZhD lady in Novy Urengoy, wide-eyed Azamat in Severobaikalsk, sultry Natalia the bank director on the train to Vladivostok, big Sasha and small Sasha on the slow boat from the Arctic; skinny Sasha on the train from Irkutsk, street-walking Sasha from Vladivostok, Iren and her freshly tattooed uncle from Yelisovo, Prof Fred in Kamchatka, Martha & Yuri from Yelisovo B&B
  • Sasha and Sasha’s eyes

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