Krasnoyarsk – the one where I missed my train…


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July 26th 2011
Published: July 26th 2011
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Krasnoyarsk
In order to get back up from Kyzyl to Krasnoyarsk I was told to take a minibus – apparently it is way faster than the normal bus. Yes, that might be true, but it meant leaving Kyzyl at 5pm for a roughly 12h drive until 5am the next day. The little hiccup with that – there is no chance you can sleep in the full minibus for more than like 20min without knocking your head to the window or not feeling your legs anymore… so honestly, I might even suggest taking the regular slow bus if someone asks me to avoid a sleepless night!

After being dropped off in the center of Krasnoyarsk, I made my way to Ksenya’s apartment somewhere around 6am – she was so sweet to let me in that early in the morning! I had breakfast with her and her boyfriend Alexander around 8am before they left to work – we were all still a bit sleepy so the focus was more on eating than talking 😊 Afterwards I decided to make use of the internet as it was raining cats and dogs outside [Ksenya was the first host who had wireless and actually remembered her
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View from the chapel with wedding people :)
password – after a month and a half I gave up on those hopes!]. Later the sky cleared up and I went for a stroll through the city – architecturally Krasnoyarsk is a mix between wooden houses, art nouveau and the usual Soviet style buildings. Ksenya told me that this is a result of the changing leaders – who ever rules likes a different style of buildings and decides to eliminate the ones that don’t fit the picture – so Krasnoyarsk ended up with a mix of everything . Given the heavy rain in the morning, walking through the city there’s an interesting phenomenon to be observed in Russia – Russia doesn’t have much of a drainage system, so the streets turn into rivers and large holes usually become lakes. As a pedestrian you try to walk as far away from the street as possible in order not to take a free shower given by the cars driving passed you and you try to find ways through the city without ending up in front of a huge ‘lake’. Therefore you see loads of pedestrians jumping over areas filled with water all over the city –
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Fog over Yenisei
especially entertaining are the ladies in their high heels 😊

In the evening, back at the apartment Ksenya, Alexander and I had dinner. Ksenya grew up in Kyzyl, probably also under the influence of Shamanism 😊 At least after dinner she started making her own medicine – she was filling up some capsules with her own herbal mix. Apparently the doctors prescribed her with antibiotics, but she believes that these would rather weaken her body than strengthen it, so she decided to do her own pills. She truly believes that getting healthy is in your own hands – I do believe that most illnesses nowadays are stress-related or due to psychological distress, I however have my doubts about healing yourself from serious illnesses . Even though, I also try to use the least synthetic medicine as possible in my life, there are some limits to my belief of what a body can take care of by itself and what needs to be treated with external forces. I guess belief alone cannot fix things, but it can be a good guide on how to act in life. Ivan pointed out in the beginning of my Russia trip: “Why
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Just like it :)
would you do something if you don’t believe in it?” – if you put it like that it sounds so easy, but is it really possible to live according to this all the time? Not sure…

The next day, I took another easy day. In Krasnoyarsk I was actually planning to visit the Stolby Nature Reserve – Stolby are spiky volcanic rock pillars scattered around the woods close to Krasnoyarsk – but apparently they closed the reserve for visitors due to the large numbers of bears currently walking around there 😉 So on Friday I decided to walk up to a small chapel on one of the hills around Krasnoyarsk – from there you have a beautiful view over the city and you can tick off the 10-roubles banknote . After that I headed for a stroll along the riverbank.

In the evening before I was supposed to catch to Irkutsk, Ksenya and I talked about the always important topic of relationships 😊 In
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Yenisei
Russia, women in their mid 20ies seem to be torn between what I would call ‘old’ and ‘new’ lifestyle . On the one hand there is still this strong social pressure to get married early, start up a family and basically build up your life around work and family. The new lifestyle however brings a whole new component into the picture: Foreigners and travel. Through the former they see how women in other countries live and how their lives don’t necessarily only turn around work and family. Travel is something they have started only recently and they realize they want to do it more to explore further life outside of their home. The problem however is that they haven’t found a way to merge the old and the new lifestyle. It seems that either you have a boyfriend/husband or you go travel and enjoy your life – at least I usually get asked whether I won’t regret later that I’m travelling a lot now and not starting a family already. It’s usually kinda hard to explain that for me, this isn’t mutually exclusive – I can travel and still start a family at some point.
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Do I really need to cross the street? Probably not...
There is no social pressure in Switzerland to be with someone – meeting the right person is the trigger to be in a relationship, not age or your social circle. Travelling on the other hand enhances the possibility of meeting new people , sure – depending on the frequency, it however somewhat reduces your stability in life which may have an impact on you having a stable relationship . For Russians, traveling and relationships seem to have a negative correlation – I’d argue that in my life there is no clear correlation between the two…

Everything happens for a reason – not sure yet what was the reason of me missing my train to Irkutsk that evening 😊 To see Krasnoyarsk by night, to appreciate the fact that Russian railway stations sell tickets 24/7 or maybe just because I actually wanted to stay longer in Krasnoyarsk ? I guess that
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Jet d'eau? - not quite :)
gives me the chance to explain you the Russian train tickets – all the departure and arrival times are stated in Moscow time. So you always have to know which cities are in what time zone. I wanted to travel from Krasnoyarsk to Irkutsk, the former being 4h ahead of Moscow, the latter 5h. My train was leaving from Krasno at 19.36 and arriving in Irkutsk at 13.20 the next day. I got the 18.20 local time for Irkutsk right, but for some weird reason I was convinced that my train leaves Krasnoyarsk at 1.36am – I guess I was in Swiss mode +6h 😊 Anyway, sitting at home, talking to Ksenya, around midnight my brain suddenly realized that something cannot be right: Yep I have actually miscalculated the time and missed my train! And this is the second time I have bought a train ticket in advance, not in the place where I’m actually leaving from – I take it as another sign after Tobolsk – don’t plan ahead, it just won’t work 😉 So I headed out to the train station – the very last platzkartny ticket for the day after was just waiting for me 😊
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Yenisei

So I ended up staying another night at Ksenya’s ! The next day at breakfast – Ksenya asked me if I was alright – I thought it was kind of a rhetorical question – I answered “yes of course, why not?” – She was like: “well, you just missed your train last night, had to go to the train station to organize a new ticket, … I wouldn’t be so chilled about it.“ – We agreed that I’m lucky I’m Swiss and my new resolution to never look back , just forward seems to work out pretty well 😊

So – I did succeed in my second attempt to make the train to Irkutsk…



Additional photos below
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Railway station
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Ksenya
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Rainy Krasnoyarsk
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Yenisei
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Court
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Old meets new
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Wooden house


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