08.08.2009 - 11.08.2009 10 °C
эдравствуйте ('zdrast-vuy-te' - hello) from Russia!
Train from Irkutsk left 2 hours late, not a great start to the journey, but somehow managed to be perfectly on time when we got to Yekaterinburg 50 hours later! The trains are fine once you settle in really, we got talking to the only russian woman who could speak english, so that made the journey pass a bit! We arrived in Yekaterinburg in the middle of the night and it was really cold and raining.
We are staying for 3 nights in Yekaterinburg, so we we're in no rush to get things done. Out first day we spent doing laundry and going all the way back to the station (in the cold and rain) to book a ticket to Moscow in a few days time, which we managed to do! After that we walked around the old part of town, which is very pretty with some lovely colourful buildings.
Today we went to see the rest of the city, which is much larger than we first thought. We are hideously underdressed for Russia, as we only have summer clothes! It's supposed to be warm at this time of year, so we are hoping it will cheer up on our way to Moscow, but right now it's about 10 degrees and we can't feel our noses and ears! We walked around and went to the tiny Chapel of St Catherine, after whom the city is named. There are some beautiful massive buildings here, including the city hall and the surrounding buildings. Opposite the City Hall is the obligatory statue of Lenin, our second on our trip across Russia. There are also some random bronze statues everywhere, including one of the founders of the city. As well as this there is a random monument to the QWERTY keyboard, which is basically a life size keyboard made out of concrete. Possibly the randomest thing we have seen so far in Russia.
After that we walked all the way through town to The Church of the Blood (or to give it its stereotypically full Russian title: The Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land) aka the memorial church on the site where the Romanov Royal family were murdered in 1917. It was still freezing at this point and we were more than happy to get inside the church, which itself is very modern as it was only built in 2003. Inside it was a typical Russin Orthodox Church, with lots of gold and various altars. In addition to the normal altars, the Romanov family were canonised (made into saints) in 2000 and as such have many altars dedicated just to them. Its ironic that after being killed by their own people, they were also made saints many years later. We took a stroll around the church and then had a cup of coffee afterwards to try and warm up. We had a look at some other churches before getting the bus back to the warmth of the hotel.
We are having an ace time in Russia, we think because it reminds us of home (the weather does thats for sure!). We leave tomorrow morning on a 27 hour train to Moscow, which will be a doddle after the trains we have done!
Hope everyone is ok,
Missing you all lots,
Lots of Love,
Chris and Alex xxx
p.s. For anyone we forgot to tell, we shall be returning to the UK on 22nd August!!xx