Siberian spring is green, and vast.
11.06.2012 - 13.06.2012 31 °C
DIARY ENTRY 11TH June IRKUTSK
A layover day so we pleased ourselves. Made a plan and walked into the city centre and looked at the sights. It was a Public holiday in Russia today so plenty of mums and kids about. Walked through the markets this morning, (they were closed up last night as we passed). A huge big area, some inside and many on the street fronts. All the same stuff, as all market places are. We walked via the main drag and out to the river and back. Found a café for lunch and dawdled home. There is an enormous Mall at the back of the hotel with just about all you can buy anywhere. The food (supermarket) area was fascinating. Pay for goods at the individual counters. Some fab smoked meats, fish, etc. Scrummy cheeses, nuts and dried fruit. I could go on. Needless we stocked up on lunch food for the next few days. Even had our (cheap) evening meal at the Mall cafe. We have an early start again tomorrow so will have an early night. During our walk in the city we found 3 churches. Polish Catholic Church (brick and spires), Russian Orthodox, gilt onions on top, and inside the walls were covered with frescos, ceilings included. It was under restoration. Very impressive. The third on , unidentified, had frescos on the outside beneath the steeple, all quite magnificent.
Diary entry 12/06/12 Irkutsk to Tulun
An early start this morning after a crap breakfast with 400kms to run!!! Filled up last night with 98 petrol for the first time. 95 not being available. The car absolutely drank it, and we only just made the 400kms. Mike thinks it must have been methanol, as we dropped from 7-9litres/100kms. Found a nice place to stop for lunch under the silver birch trees. Arrived at the’ hotel’ which is situated on top of the local supermarket. We’ve slept in worse but not often. The trailer has undergone a radical mastectomy this pm, the welds supporting the front upper platform have all broken and it’s now been removed and donated to the locals. Our trip today through the Steppe was interesting with acres of cultivated grain land from horizon to horizon on either side of the road. Everything in Siberia is massive. We need a FORESTER to help us identify the trees in the Taiga.!! The book says firs and spruce but we can’t tell the difference. Help. We can identify birch and pine, but struggle with others. We must be getting very close to White Night as the sun was still shining when we went to bed at 10pm last night. Very weird for us Aucklanders. The Canterbury contingent must feel at home though. No internet here so that’s why there is a break in transmission.
Diary Entry 13th June Tulun to Kransnoyarsk
To –day we set off at 5am. Yes 5am. A bit chilly at first but we saw the beautiful sun rise over the Taiga and the day warmed. Drove 12 & ½ hours arriving in Kransnoyarsk at 5.30pm, which now is 4.30pm. So are getting even longer days. The scenery was all forest again today but calming. Road works in the morning but roads got better later. Arrived in the rush-hour but managed to negotiate the traffic to the hotel. We have a great room overlooking the square with lovely playing fountains, and over the River Enisie and the city. We are shattered after 12 hours on the road but have a layover day tomorrow to recoup, as we have another long day (850kms) on Friday. Today we did 650kms.
Eastern Siberia is a lovely place at this time of the year. We've seen vast cultivated areas where grain has been sewn, huge tarcts of forest, rolling hills and quaint villages. we have stopped for lunches in forest laybys where spring flowers abound, Irises, anenomes, buttercup, dandelion and others unidentified, just lovely.