Saturday, August 30, 2014

To Dacha again

overlooking the beautiful garden and to drink tea with a pie.
Here I saw a real Samovar! One of Natalia's colleagues baked a wonderful Hackberry (a kind of Cherry) Pie. Oh, that looks so good!!!
The day was cool enough and I climbed the Samovar to warm.
Such a lovely weekend.
Back in Australia Angie is doing a journal of my travels
also the two cuttings from local Yanchep Newspapers

I now start the last project before I leave Russia. Natalia is going to take photos of places in Irkutsk (the ones mentioned on the computer in that place called Wikipedia!). Apparently if you do a 'Google' search for Irkutsk, lots of pages come up with images and information!!  Isn't this amazing!!!
 I could stay with Natalia for longer but Alice in London is wanting me to go to her.
Here I am with the 'tram' in the background.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Walking around Irkutsk

Hi there, today I went to the river Angara. It's not so hot near the water.
Here I saw plenty of small yachts 
and an old ice-breaker 'Angara'. This is one of the first Siberian ice-breakers, it was built in Great Brighton and launched in 1900. It worked on lake Baikal because the lake freezes in winter. Now it's a museum.
Oh, here is something new!!! I found ...... Eiffel Tower,. It's rather big for me.
But not so big, now I am bigger than it. Ha,ha,ha.
I finished the day with a chocolate cake 'Prague'. The children said "We want something sweet". "So do I", said I. We drank tea and enjoyed cake.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lights, Camera, Action!

Oh, Oh, Oh, I'm on Russian T.V!!!!
Isn't that fantastic....
At a meeting of Irkutsk postcrossers ( that's people who send lots of postcards all over the world, at a place called Postcrossing). And I was there with Natalia & her friends. Hello everyone....... 
Here is a photo of the film crew, Natalias friends and me.
Here is some translation for anyone not speaking Russian.
From Australia to Irkutsk
 He is not even 1 year old but he visited 4 countries of the world.
The young traveler visits different places of the world, staying in so called host families. One of such visits can last during months; by the way, the traveler moves not by autostop but, curious to relate, by post. (The text above was told by the news speaker before the video)
Meet, this tourist’s name is Tully. The future “pilgrim” was created last November by the Australian lady Angie Beck. She took a sock, which was wandering beforetime too, as a basic material. The first stop of the traveler was in Hong Kong there Tully tried the Asian cuisine, walked in the lawn of the Hong Kong Government Headquarters, Tamar Park. Then there were several cities in the USA, again Australia, and at last Russia, Irkutsk.
Here he was met by Natalia Valyushina. And as a hospitable hostess, the lady showed him sights. Together they walked along the central streets of the capital (here they mean that Irkutsk is the capital of Eastern Siberia), went to Listvyanka and even to Bratsk. As a real passenger he has always got documents with him. “It has got its own passport with all the information about this toy. In the passport there are so called visas. In every country and even in every city the real seal or the imitation of the seal is put when it arrived and when it left” – Natalia Valyushina told.
From the capital of Priangarie (Priangarie is another name of Irkutsk region because the large part of the area is around the river Angara) Tully will leave for London. Such round-the-world toy change is just a part of global postcrossing movement, when unfamiliar people from different corners of the world exchange by postcards. It must be said that before this travelling toy would step the shore of Foggy Albion, her English greeting to Irkutsk, to be more exact to Lilia Koroleva, the British Queen had sent. Some time ago the experienced Siberian collector sent Her Majesty a postcard, and not to answer the letter in England is mauvais ton. Lilia has several hundreds of cardboard greetings from different countries. And every card is unique and precious in its own way.
“Every postcard is an emotion, it’s a day which was defined by this card. It’s an opportunity to travel (staying at home) because the pace of life is so fast that often there is no opportunity to go anywhere. Here, for instance, I see … what is it? It’s Czech Republic. So wonderful view, I can say… as if I’ve already been there, watched it”, – says Lilia Koroleva, collector, the head of Irkutsk Postcrossers’ Club. Besides greeting with best wishes on the card, a postcrosser can write, for example, the recipes if the receiver would like to get them. However, sometimes the filling of the card is not so important. The main thing is to remember that you can send a card to another person without any reason (to give him pleasure).

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Another wonderful day in Bratsk and Listvyanka

Walking around the town we saw … a hand. Why is it put here? Whose hand is it? Nobody knows. 
Soooo BIG even the butterfly is bigger than me!! Very good to sit by a gold heart.
Hurraaaaay! At last I’m going to Lake Baikal. The road goes through taiga and I looked at soooo many trees...... It takes an hour or so to get to the lake.
I came to Listvyanka [listv’jankə], a small settlement on the shore of the Baikal.
At this very place the river Angara flows out of the lake. More than 300 rivers and springs run into the Baikal, but only the single is flows out of it – the Angara.

The natural zone where the lake’s located is seismically (that IS a long word!) active. And every day they have weak earthquakes; many people even don’t feel them. The last strong earthquake happened in 2008, it was about of magnitude 9 Richter scale. Natalia says she was very scared on that day.
Then we went to the Baikal Limnological Museum. There I saw Baikal seals – nerpas. They’re endemics; (another long word) it means that these animals live only in this very place and nowhere else. In Australia we also have a lot of endemics. I am learning so much here!
I learned that this lake is 20-25 million years old. Baikal is the deepest lake on the planet; its max depth is 1642 metres. I’m interested in one of the exhibits – a manned submersible “Pisces XI”, which was used to study the bottom of the lake. Many other exhibits you can see here.

A beautiful path leads to the museum, on its both sides there are cedars, pines and spruce trees. I climbed up the spruce, this tree is very high and beautiful but it’s not comfortable to sit there – 
the needles are very sharp. "Ouch!"
After that we went walking along the lake.

There are many wooden figures in Listvyanka. Baikal nerpa, the seal, is the symbol of the lake
and here is a big fish.
Sometimes I saw unusual trees with many colourful fabric strips on them. What are they for?
The native people of the territory around Baikal are the Buryats. Some of them are the Buddists, the others are Shamanists. Earlier they tied colourful fabric stripes in special sacred places for good spirits. Now people do that for this purpose too and to come back to the place again. Also they put small coins into the special place. I tired my stripe and put a coin as well. I know Angie would have loved this as she is always tearing up strips of fabric, maybe she could do this in Yanchep! 

This winter the Olympic flame was travelling around all regions of Russia. Here in Listvyanka the flame in a special container was put down to the bottom of the lake and then sent to Irkutsk.
Shhhhh. I heard that in Siberia the bears walk in the streets. And today I met one of them. I wasn’t afraid. I’m very brave! Look at me!
There are a lot of hotels and hostels near the Baikal.

What a view!
Up so high, kicking off my shoe!
Oh, it’s a chance for me to practice fishing. What fish can I have?
There are different kinds of fish live in the lake. The most popular and tasty are Baikal omul (lat.  (лат. Coregonus migratorius), harius (lat. Thymallus arcticus)  and sturgeon (lat. Acipenser baerii baicalensis). Natalia told me the Latin names - the only one I've heard of is the sturgeon.

Oh, so many things and the fishing made me hungry!
I ate a “small” vatrushka [va’truʃka] (a curd patty) and drank traditional tea with milk. 

Here are two Buryats’ Deities:  Deity of the Straight Way (I've climbed it you see) and Deity of Fair Wind (near). Usually people come here to make wishes. I came to the Deities, dropped some coins on the axe-stone and made a wish. 
Then I decided to find out where my wish would be granted from. I jumped up the wooden fish, pushed it, the fish started to turn around (like a merry-go-round), at the end I saw that my wish would be granted somewhere in the South-West. 
Hmmm in the in the South-West???? What country shall I go?
After having a snack I continued my way along the Baikal. 

This is a local market. I saw many different souvenirs: Buryat masks, Shaman drums, toy Nerpas (little white seals), matryoshkas (Russian nesting doll or babushka doll), Baikal herbal teas etc. Oh, I could have spent all my money here! Also at the market I bought famous Baikal omul ….
 fish like salmon - smoked, a delicacy. 
and, like many tourists, ate it sitting at the table near the water and watching Lake Baikal. 
They think it’s much tastier. After that I tried the water, it wasn't very cold and some people were swimming, but the majority only were wandering. 

So good to have a hand to hold!
On the shore I saw people building such pyramids. I made one for my Angie, they say it brings happiness. I dropped three Baikal water drops on my pyramid and made this wish for her.
Then I was laying in the sun, looking at the Sayany Mountains…
and was dreaming, dreaming…..
Then Natalia woke me, time to head back. In Bratsk I met new friends; they’re Natalia’s niece Tanya and a cat Kesha. Tanya called me Tolik, it’s a Russian boy’s name. They were very sad when I had to leave for Irkutsk.

I am sad as well, it has been such fun. Today I’m going back to Irkutsk. My trip will take 9 hours by bus because it’s about 700 km south from Bratsk. Good-bye, see you later.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tomorrow has come today

I'm still in Bratsk 
Hm-m… where am I? It’s a transparent shed; it’s called teplitsa [tep’litəsə]  a greenhouse. In the north people grow such vegetables as tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet pepper and others in greenhouses because summer is short and cool and these vegetables have no time to mature outdoor.
Natalia’s mum’s hobby is growing tomatoes. She reads special books, tries new sorts and discusses her success and problems with other gardeners.

Dacha where I stay is on the shore of the Bratsk reservoir. The citizens call it “Bratsk sea” because it’s one of the largest in the world.  I wandered in the water,
sat on the sand …,

and found a large root of the tree.
That day the weather was not sunny, it started raining.

Bratsk is surrounded by taiga (boreal coniferous forest)) and in the town there are many pine parks.

More adventures tomorrow!