Page 6 of golfkat Travel Blog Posts


Europe » Russia » Siberia » Taltsy May 13th 2014

Those who stepped before me are numerous and rather surprising. Captain John Smith of Pocahontas fame, served as a mercenary in the army of the Holy Roman Emperor before becoming famous in America. John Quincy Adams visited in 1781 as a persona secretary and interpreter for America's minister to Russia. James Buchanan was minister to Russia in 1832 and 1833. Of course, this Presbyterian from Pennsylvania was socked by the lack of religion by the Russians. Samuel Colt, the gun maker, attended the coronation of Tsar Alexander II. He made several visits to Russia to sell guns. Mark Twain met Alexander II on the Black Sea in 1867. Even Whistler's Mother visited with Whistler's father, an engineer, who helped build docks and railroads. The list goes on, with the likes of Marquis de Custine, Admiral John ... read more

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Ulan-Ude May 13th 2014

I hate to say it, but this city sounds like a posterior body part or a bad dream. Ulan Ude is the capital of the Buryat Republic. It is a small city with a multiethnic background. So, let's see what we can find out about this place, and its people. It lies only 62 miles southeast of famous Lake Baikal. The city sits on the confluence of the Uda and Selenga Rivers. It is the third largest city in eastern Siberia with a little over 400,000 people. The city has undergone many name changes through the years. The current name was given in 1934, and means "red Uda" in Buryat. We are 3500 miles (5649 kilometers) east of Moscow. The first occupants were the Evenks, and later the Buryat Mongols. In 1666, the Russian Cossacks came ... read more

Europe » Russia » Far East » Vladivostok May 12th 2014

Russia, or rather, the old Soviet Union was our mortal enemy through most of our youth, up until the fall of the Union in 1991. But what do we really know about this often misunderstood and huge country? First, Russia is the largest country in the world, with 17 million square kilometers. With 142 million people, it is the ninth largest country by population. Most of us know that Moscow is the current capital, though it was moved to St. Petersburg during the reign of the Peter the Great. Making communication more difficult, as if the Russian language is not difficult enough, are over fifty indigenous peoples and languages, both written and spoken). Talk about a failure to communicate, Luke! Also surprising are the two main religions, Christianity and Islam. Yet, rather surprisingly, the life expectancy ... read more

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Lake Baikal May 12th 2014

Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest (5387 feet) freshwater lake in the world. Located in south-eastern Siberia and north of the Mongolian border, Lake Baikal lies in a cleft where the world is literally splitting apart. Expert geologists say that today's Baikal shows what the seaboards of North America, Europe, and Africa looked like when they separated millions of years ago. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Baikal is more than 5000 feet deep, with a four mile thick layer of sediment below. Yet the cold and oxygen rich waters supports some rather bizarre life forms. One of them is the fresh water seals favorite food, golomyanka, a pink, transparent fish that gives birth to live young. More than half of the species found here can only be found here. The ... read more
More Baikal "Navy"
I took the Shark to the other side of the Lake
Baikal Snowed in May!!!!

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Olkhon May 12th 2014

Those who stepped before me are numerous and rather surprising. Captain John Smith of Pocahontas fame, served as a mercenary in the army of the Holy Roman Emperor before becoming famous in America. John Quincy Adams visited in 1781 as a persona secretary and interpreter for America's minister to Russia. James Buchanan was minister to Russia in 1832 and 1833. Of course, this Presbyterian from Pennsylvania was socked by the lack of religion by the Russians. Samuel Colt, the gun maker, attended the coronation of Tsar Alexander II. He made several visits to Russia to sell guns. Mark Twain met Alexander II on the Black Sea in 1867. Even Whistler's Mother visited with Whistler's father, an engineer, who helped build docks and railroads. The list goes on, with the likes of Marquis de Custine, Admiral John ... read more

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Krasnoyarsk May 12th 2014

So, what exactly is a Russian gulag? Gulag is actually the Soviet agency that administered forced labor camps during the Stalin era form the 1930s to the 1950s. The camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners. No doubt, the Gulag was the major instrument of political repression in the Soviet Union. But the term gulag is also used to describe the camps themselves. Some of you may have heard about or read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature. He introduced the world to the term gulag in his 1973 book, Gulag Archipelago. He described the gulag as a system where people were worked to death. As recently as 1940, there were 53 separate camps and 423 labor colonies. Nothing to scoff at, my friends! img=https://blu180.mail.live.com/Handlers/ImageProxy.mvc?bic... read more

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Irkutsk May 11th 2014

Siberia has been under Russian rule since the late 16th century, similar to the Americans settlement of North America. Treaties placed cast tracts of land under Russian rule. Until the railway was built, travel to and across Siberia was slow and painful. The Great Siberian Railway or Iron Road was one quarter complete in June, 1895. Criminal labor was used with incentives to make the work attractive. A regulation was made by the Governor-General of Irkutsk so eight months of railway work counted as one year of imprisonment, or hard labor. For exiles, the term requiring them to be registered as peasants was reduced in the proportion of one year for two. For those compelled to live in far Siberia, the term of deportation was shortened by counting one year as two. Of particular interest to ... read more

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Krasnoyarsk May 11th 2014

The best of Siberia resides in its natural resources. The huge coal reserves in the Kuznetsk Basin are the largest in the world. The Basin is also rich in iron ore. Siberia also contains cobalt, zinc, copper, lead, tin, and mercury in great amounts. Norilsk is the second largest city north of the Arctic Circle where the Soviets dug the world's largest nickel mine. Diamond mines in Mirny, near the Vilyui Rover, are second only to South Africa's. Russia also has some of the world's largest oil and natural gas reserves. I am trying to tell you something good about Siberia. That may be about it! American companies have tried to harvest timber, but the deals generally go wrong. The famous Russian business practices of corruption and bribery make it difficult. But geologist have always been ... read more

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Novosibirsk May 11th 2014

When I travel through a state or country, I enjoy unearthing famous residents. I would think Siberia would be home to quite a few interesting characters. The list includes Boris Yeltsin, Catherine the Great, Vitas Bering, Rudolf Nureyev, Dmitri Mendeleev, Grigori Rasputin, Raisa Titorenko Gorbachev, Kim Jun Il, Yul Brynner, Boris Godunov, Genghis Khan, and Ivan the Terrible. As a young teenager in high school, I learned much about Mendeleev. He is credited with formulating the periodic table of elements. He created his own periodic table of elements and used it to correct the properties of some already discovered elements and to predict element yet to be discovered. But perhaps most importantly, he was appointed director of the Bureau of Weights and Measures, where he formulated the new state standards for the production of vodka. In ... read more

Europe » Russia » Centre » Vladimir May 11th 2014

Russia, or rather, the old Soviet Union was our mortal enemy through most of our youth, up until the fall of the Union in 1991. But what do we really know about this often misunderstood and huge country? First, Russia is the largest country in the world, with 17 million square kilometers. With 142 million people, it is the ninth largest country by population. Most of us know that Moscow is the current capital, though it was moved to St. Petersburg during the reign of the Peter the Great. Making communication more difficult, as if the Russian language is not difficult enough, are over fifty indigenous peoples and languages, both written and spoken). Talk about a failure to communicate, Luke! Also surprising are the two main religions, Christianity and Islam. Yet, rather surprisingly, the life expectancy ... read more




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