Another Restricted Russian City

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August 1st 2012
Published: December 8th 2012
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It's hot, sunny and things are getting a little sweaty.

It's only 7am but this is Siberia baby.

Temperature fluctuation is huge here, with summers reaching the +30 degree Celsius highs, meanwhile winter can fall as low as -67 degrees Celsius.

Having spent 41 hours on the train to Chita we are ready to stretch our legs and embrace summer time fun in Chita. By this point we have traveled 3,289km consecutively by train through Russia.

Chita, like Kamchatka and Vladivastok was formerly a restricted military city. Post loosing its military status and due to tis proximity to China the city developed rapidly and somewhat unevenly.

You can see modern high rises right next to broken down wooden houses. From those wooden houses grandmas still continue to fetch water from a pump outside which I've read even happens in -40 C winter!

Close to the station where we arrive we stumble upon the Kazansky Orthodox Church. A beautiful grandiose Orthodox Church it's closed to visitors this morning so we take a look from the outside.

After we greet Alex our host we visit the Musuem Church of Decembrists and learn a little more of the history of the aristocrats, who failed to revolt against the Tsar and were banished to Siberia.

Often their wives traveled many thousands of kilometers, simply to join their husbands, often in primitive conditions and harsh weather climate. Such was thier love for their husbands.

Following the Museum of Decembrists we visit Chita's Datsun, a big Buddhist temple in Chita. We eat in the Datsun's cafeteria and I'm surprised by the amount of meals that include meat.

I remember Frank, a 65 year old British guy we met whilst hitch sailing along the coast of the east of Australia. He killed my myth that Buddhists are all vegetarians.

"Buddah himself died from pork poisoning" he told me over 2 years earlier.

We have a delicious dinner wit Alex and explore the forest nearby. The next day we explore the lakes 2.5 hours away from Chita city.

The lakes are worth a look, reminding me of the island of Olkhon in their vast size. They look more like a calm ocean then a fresh water lake.

In the evening we say our goodbyes to Alex sadly and board the train for Ulan Ude.

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