Surprisingly modern city!

Trip Start Aug 01, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Russia  , Sverdlovsk,
Wednesday, September 1, 2010

After a twenty hour train journey we can still feel the movement of the train in our head, although we have left the train; just like on a boat!! It's quite funky.

Straight down from the train, we can see that Yekaterinburg is not a typical Russian city. The modern aspect of the city is getting more and more obvious as we walk to our hostel. It took us a good one hour walk in the daylight setting off, slowly to reach our hostel.

The hostel was simply a one bedroom apartment with a big lounge and a bedroom transformed in a dormitory for 8 people. It was on the 4th floor of a block building very close to the centre. The owner Katia was extremely nice person that explained us all where to go and what to see! On the first night we were six people to stay there (2 ozzies, 2 brits and us) and on the second night we were eight (the 2 Brits, 2 Italians, 2 Germans and us). All of us were backpackers with the same aim going one way or another of the trans-Siberian railway. It was very interesting to share our plans and discuss our troubles.

Yekaterinburg is mostly flat and as a modern city contains quite many skyscrapers but if you walk close to them you realize that many are actually unoccupied and totally empty. One looked like a construction site completely abandoned after they had built the concrete core.

The city is crossed by the river Iset which is transformed in a pond with the dam in the middle of the city. By walking next to that pond, not far from the churches, we saw countless number of brides and grooms making their wedding pictures (just like in Moscow and St Petersburg). We even managed to attend a part of a wedding ceremony in the beautiful Church of Blood. Obviously, Orthodox wedding ceremonies are very different from the ones we know back home. Everybody is standing, the priest is facing the Christ rather than the new wed couple and talks endlessly on the same tone. At some point the bride and the groom are given a crown each to put on their heads.

Food wise, we found a traditional self service (similar to Lido in Latvia) and a restaurant serving the Pelmeni (dumplings) we love so much. They had so many different sorts that we wanted to try, that we had to come back another day to try the rest of the menu. And they were indeed all very tasty.

In Russia we can't drink tap water and in Yekaterinburg the tap water was so disgusting that it even smells disgusting and after a shower with soap our skins still smelled of that water. We had to boil still bottled water to do tea, otherwise even the tea tasted disgusting. So we obviously had to buy bottle of water all the time and we’ve noticed that it was often difficult to get still water, they mostly have sparkling water for some reason. And in that Pelmeni place they even offered us boiled water with ice!?!

The city is not very big and one day is enough to go around the whole town. So, on the second day we decided to go to Russian sauna but we realised that men and women are separated only after we had paid. So we went back home and took the stinky shower.

And apart from Katia that speaks very good English, we found that not many Russian people speak or understand English. So Agnese does the talking and Rudi keeps asking her to ask things… It’s good she understands everything; however it will change soon …


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Adam on

The toilet paper,,uggghh. Reminds me of infant school.

Boris the Mayor on

Hi....... Do you see the comments.

It looks like a really nice place..... apart from the toilet paper, the water and 8 to a room

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