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August 4th 2012
Published: May 5th 2013
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We arrive in Ulan Ude the capital of Buraytia republic in Russia.

Its home to Buraytiy's, Evenk ethnic groups as well as Russians in general. The town was established in 1666 and flourished quickly due to its proximity to Mongolia and China.Due to its ethnic minorities and location in Asia it has a real Asian feel to it.

I'm reminded of Mongolia and my love for the city flourishes further. Although we are in Siberia, its once again nice and warm and sunny. A real summers day.

Ulan Ude is said to be one of the sunnier cities compared to surrounding cities close by. The city centre is nice to walk around in and also houses the worlds largest statue of Lenin's Head!

The merchant mansions are nice wooden houses scattered throughout the city mainly along the Uda river, relics of the trade that once flourished in the town.Just like Vladivastok, Ulan Ude has its own walking street Arbat, where you can browse, find some magnets. Always with the magnets. Following Arbat and the mansions we decide to spiritualise things and head for the Odigitrievsky Cathedral.

The cathedral was the first stone building in town and was founded in 1741. It's all nice and blue and stuff.

We wake up at the regular time and get ready for a day of good clean fun. We spend a good few hours at this site exploring old homesteads and traditional Buryat yurts as well as reconstructed Buryat streets. There is a collection of animals stuck in cages way to small for their size (make note if there bear is still there when you visit as he was literally doing laps around his cage for lack of movement space).

Whilst we make lunch and chat, mum picks mushrooms because only she knows which aren't poisonous and real now - mother knows best. Following the ethnographic museum we decide to wrap up another day with a spiritual visit, this time to the Rimpoche Bgsa, Buddhist centre. It's a nice, quite Buddhist centre and has a great view over the centre. We enjoy lunch in the adjoining cafe of Pozi (steamed dumplings).

What I've noticed is that despite being Buddhist in Russia, there are generally limited, if any vegetarian options among the food by most Buddhist centers I visited. The following day we decide to head to Ivolginsky Datsan, before we board the train in the evening to Irkutsk. It's major draw card?

A Buddhist monk who entered nirvana during the time of the Russian revolution and asked to be buried until the revolution was over. Sixty years later his body was retrieved, in the same position, in a permanent coma of Nirvana. Unfortunately we didn't get to pay our respects but in special days and by request your able to personally witness this wonder person.

The whole complex is quite enjoyable to walk around in and there is a lot of history that the monks are only to happy to share with you relating to Buddhism in Buryatiya. We drink some water from the holy springs nearby before heading off.

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