Novosibirsk - not the prettiest city in Russia

Trip Start Jun 17, 2009
Trip End Jul 20, 2010

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Where I stayed
Novosibirsk Hotel

Flag of Russian Federation  , Siberia,
Monday, September 14, 2009

Novosibirsk is big city on the banks of the Ob river.  It is full of large grey apartment blocks and surrounded by big industry.  The landscape is predominantly flat and unremarkable.  Novosibirsk is an important transportation hub and industrial centre, but that’s about it.  It has a really impressive looking opera house, some nice restaurants and, according to the guidebook, a handful of nice Irish pubs (although I suspect the Irishness of these pubs is purely based on the fact that they serve Guinness and have an Irish name. I did not, however, spend much time or effort trying to locate these pubs and confirm my suspicions.) More on pubs in my Tomsk blog entry.

My one true accomplishment in Novosibirsk was managing to acquire a train ticket to Tomsk.  The presumably simple task of ordering a single train ticket is not nearly as simple a task as one might first think.  The first challenge is figuring out which ticket widow to go to.  Most train stations have at least a dozen ticket windows to choose from.  There is a 98% chance that the ticket vendor, usually a middle aged woman, speak absolutely no English.  Also, they rigidly adhere to the hours for their scheduled breaks, which are posted on the window.  If you don’t speak English is will likely take some time to negotiate a ticket so choosing a ticket vendor that isn’t going on a break soon is important.  With the help of my Lonely Planet Russian phrasebook (something no non-Russian speaking traveller should be without) I was able to make myself understood well enough and with some additional hand gesturing accompanied by frequent confused looks from both parites, I finally acquired my ticket.  Unfortunately all the 2nd class tickets were sold out so I was stuck in 3rd class. Oh yeah, and my train also departed at 0300 in the morning.  Not an ideal situation, but at least it was a ticket headed in the right direction.
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