a month away…

April 27, 2013

..moving slowly through landscapes and occasionally stopping, letting the delayed motion sickness subside whilst wandering through city streets soaking up the details of architecture, people, ways of being. Communicating in a mixture of unfamiliar languages and gesture, benefiting from the kindness of strangers. Constantly challenged, stimulated and well fed.

It turns out after all that, I took few photos and most underwhelming compared to the actual. Still, here’s a few, just for the record.

moscow metro

st basils

Moscow, very cold. The metro stations elegant and grand…in the middle of a vast shuffling crowd I look up to see a mosaic stretching across an arched ceiling. Lenin and colleagues detailed  marching in the other direction above us.  St. Basil’s Cathedral… there is nothing quite like the cold held inside an unheated building, but it was a treat nonetheless to meander through the small chapels and walkways inside. It reminded me of the crypt at Canterbury and much of its original wall painting did too, there are some images that fade in and out of the patina just like those in Canterbury, that you can only see if you stand in the right light. Other parts of the wall painting are bold and wonderful,  starting a theme to continue through much of the trip- pattern pattern everywhere.

tiling

tobolsk old town river

tomsk 4

Tobolsk and Tomsk colder still. Snow up to here, ice and more snow and ice and we begin to learn to walk in new ways, after the first few falls. These towns are full of carved wooden buildings, beautifully made, painted and loved, some are sadly falling apart as they fight the extremities of Russian seasons and the poverty of their owners trying to hold them together.

tomsk 2

tomsk 1

Finally Olkhon Island, the sacred centre of Lake Baikal, an awesome and ancient island where many fish are eaten and Shamanism is practised. We only saw a tiny portion of the island, dense pine and birch woods, cliffs and sandy headlands, under the snow. During the winter months Olkhon is accessible via an ice road mainly travelled by 9 seater minibuses and camper vans. The ice itself is a whole other post.

olkhon rock

olkhon woods

to be continued…

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