Blogs from Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia, Europe

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Europe » Russia » Siberia » Novosibirsk July 26th 2018

k and Krasnoyarsk We spent the day on the train, travelling between Ekaterinburg and Novosibirsk. We stopped for about half an hour at Omsk and were able to walk along the platform and stretch our legs. We had lunch on the train. Fletcher continued to work on his computer while I read and chatted to Elizabeth whose cabin is next to ours. At 4pm we went down to the restaurant car and Olga gave us a lesson in the Russian Language. Having been here three times before I can decipher most of the Cyrillic but some letters still give me problems. So this was fun, looking at the alphabet which has 32 letters and learning simple phrases such as “See you tomorrow”, “Where do you live?” and the numbers from 1-20. We had to write our ... read more
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Europe » Russia » Siberia » Novosibirsk July 15th 2016

Ok this becoming a habit... Greetings from the train from Novosibirsk to Yekaterinburg. This time its a short 21 hour trip so I better start writing. A childhood dream It is said that Russian scientist studied Lenin's brain (fortunately for him once he was dead) for over 40 years to understand why he was such a genius. The same might happen to my brain to understand the twisted logic and selective memory that brought us to Novosibirsk. I don't know if you remember a lot of your geography lessons at school. My memory is bad anyway and I have close to no recollection of my school years but I can clearly remember that we studied the Russian map and where the various natural resources in Russia are (god only knows why we did this. Maybe it ... read more
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Linen is provided
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Europe » Russia » Siberia » Novosibirsk October 28th 2014

Hi All, Due to no wifi from Moscow to Listvynaka we have not been able to blog, so this is to cover days 6 to 9 and today will be separate. So last blog we had met our fellow travellers: Tom, Martina, Jo, Katie. Facts: -3rd class sleeper (a pull down bed, approx 60 people in a carriage = no privacy at all) -approximately 54 Russian Soldiers in out carriage... and us. This was very daunting at first!! - 3.5 days and 4 nights on the train Good memories from the train: - Meeting so many Russian soldiers- they were between 19-21 years, couldn't speak much English but they were great fun, we drank, played cards and shared cultures by broken languages and pictures. - 3 duvet days we didn't feel guilty about -watching the landscape ... read more
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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 » Siberia » Novosibirsk July 28th 2013

In Novosibirsk (meaning ‘New Siberia’, it is the largest city in Russia east of the Ural Mountains) I stayed with Dima, an old friend from Manchester University. He was doing his PhD in computer science while I was an undergraduate there. Now he works for the university in Novosibirsk. I visited him a couple of years ago when we took a trip together to the Altai Mountains. That time I went to Novosibirsk by train, a 56 hour journey from St. Petersburg. Dima’s parents are academics too and the family live in a satellite town, 25km from the city, built in the 1960s as a university town and research centre. In my opinion, it’s one of the most successful Soviet projects and its design benefitted from the centralized co-ordination that Communism provided. 4 or 5 storey ... read more
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Europe » Russia » Siberia » Novosibirsk July 26th 2013

There is a saying that Russia has two problems: ‘fools and roads’. The poor condition of many roads and causes thereof (including, prominently, corruption), is frequently a topic of conversation here. However, Russia has a couple of advantages regarding roads: it’s a rather flat country and it has lots of space to build them. I’ve been impressed by the number of new roads under construction and have enjoyed whizzing along long, wide, straight, recently build roads. What make driving here difficult are the sudden changes of road quality. A smooth new road will suddenly transform into a gravel track or battered tarmac surface with more hole than pot. I’ve also, since driving in Russia, become a huge fan of road markings. It’s unexpectedly difficult to drive without road markings, especially on a wide road with an ... read more
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Europe » Russia » Siberia » Novosibirsk May 26th 2013

I was taking a 7pm train from Novosibirsk, so most of today was spent packing and preparing. I did squeeze in a visit to the art gallery, which was preparing for "Night Museum", an annual national event where many museums open at night and have extra events. Unfortunately I will miss it (and the Eurovision Song Contest, which no one in Russia seems very bothered about) as I will be on the train. The art gallery is not bad, but not one of the best Russia has to offer, and is dominated by a collection of strange, psychedelic paintings - lots of purple and orange - of landscapes, especially the desert. I have forgotten the name of the artist, as I was not that bowled over. The weather was absolutely atrocious - continuous heavy rain all ... read more

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Novosibirsk May 26th 2013

Today was my last day of studying at the language school, and we were given a test, which I hadn't been looking forward to but was actually quite good for seeing progression. Then we had a small presentation with a certificate, present and recommendations for how to improve in future, and a short round of applause, which was nice. In celebration one of the fellow students, who is Spanish, offered to cook us paella. Eating it made me realise how lucky I am at home to have access to so many different cuisines. I feel like I have exhausted Russian food and in Russia there is not a lot else available. There's pizza and pasta (though it tends to be a Russian take on it), sushi (there are many sushi restaurants in Russia and it is ... read more

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Novosibirsk May 25th 2013

As previously mentioned, I have spent a significant amount of time in Novosibirsk speaking English with Russians who are trying to learn the language. I also sometimes simply read out paragraphs so that the students learn how words are pronounced. For advanced students, these can be on strangely specific topics - like the full page I read out on the subject of arable farming. I am quite happy to do this as many Russians are helping me with Russian, and it also helps me when Russians can speak English :) Occasionally a student will pick up on my accent (which I think is quite impressive). I had a long conversation with a guy in his mid-twenties who was very interested in Manchester - asking me what became of the Hacienda, telling me how much he loved ... read more

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Novosibirsk May 25th 2013

Novosibirsk is not known as one of the great stopping-off points on the Trans-Siberian railway, with some justification, as there are no real interesting "sights" here. However it is a pleasant place to live and as I am busy here I am enjoying the stay. On a sunny day the nicest part of the city is by the river, where there is a promenade with a fairground (fairground rides are very popular in Russia, and can be found in all parks and other communal areas), and a view of the bridge over which the Tran-Siberian train travels. Nearby there is a monument to Alexander IIl, who built the railway and responsible for Novosibirsk's existence (there is also a monument to him in Irkutsk). Aside from that there are a few pretty churches, though the same sorts ... read more
Novosibirsk church
Inscription on Alexander lll statue
Alexander lll




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