Moscow

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Postby Strax » Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:14 am

Sunset on the house of the Soviets is a wonderful picture Doggie.
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Postby Strax » Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:18 am

CESteman wrote:Yes, I've heard of this place before I think. I was watching a UK show called the Long way around. One episode showed them stopping at a place that was really weird. It was like the water just evaporated in one day and then towns along the coast just died slowly. What a shame that was to see!



I worked on that show, albeit only in the studios in London but what a delight to know that people in San Luis are watching it.
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Postby Doggie3 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:56 pm

Noakesy,

It is a good thing that factory is closing down (I think it's actually a pulp mill). You pass it between Ulan-Ude and Irkutsk and it smells pretty bad, as well as looking totally out of place. Unfortunately the attitude around the lake is that it is so big, that nothing that they do to it will hurt it...except of course that is not the case.

Roger,

If you ever get the chance to do the Trans-Sib, then go for it. If you have a Russian speaking travelling companion, it is also alot easier. Certainly not impossible without Russian though. There are also so many variations - there is actually no one train that is the "Tran-Siberian" - rather it is the line that's the Tran-Siberian and there are a multitude of trains on it. The other big decisions are which way and which season?

Strax - thanks for the compliment on the photo. It was a nice building and we caught the sunset just right.

Cheers,
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Postby Doggie3 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:17 pm

While we were in Irkutsk, we completed two visits to Lake Baikal. One was a train trip around the edge of the lake, following the old rail line that linked the communities that lived on the lake, as well as forming a part of the Trans-Siberian railway at one stage.

The Circumbaikal railway is the oldest part of the Transsiberian railroad. Within the section of 84 km from Kultuk to Port Baikal there are 424 engineering constructions and 39 tunnels, the total length of which is 8994 metres. The biggest tunnels are Katorzhny (538 m), Khabartuy (548 m), Poloviny (807 m). There are about 200 bridges and 14 km of walls that supports the railway. All these constructions were build more than 100 years ago!

The railroad was named "the Golden Buckle of the Great Siberian Trail". The "Buckle" - as it connected the Trans Siberian railway divided by Baikal lake; the "Golden" - because the total value of building operations exceeded the cost of all railroads in Russia at those time. At the end of 70's the railway was recognized as the historic and architectural monument and now it is under government protection.

Our second visit was to Bolshie Koty (or Big Cats - why, I'm not sure). It is a village of only 150 residents. It is situated right on the shore of Lake Baikal, about 70km southeast of Irkutsk city by ferry. There is no regular ground transport between Irkutsk city and Bolshie Koty. During the summer, residents and visitors use water transportation. When winter comes, "ice" roads connect villages to urban areas. A former site for gold digging, today the village is mainly known for its picturesque views. The Siberian wooden architecture interspersed by pine trees, surrounded by mountains and the lake, make a peaceful and unforgettable impression.


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Ruins by the edge of the Lake

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Two of the bridges on the lake

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Typical village along a small river that feeds into the lake

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The train really hugs the edge of the lake

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The lake has it's own weather patterns, and even mid-summer there is often fog over the lake

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Alot of people have these old containers as storage, I guess so they can store their "lake" items here instead of their apartments.

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They also make nice sunbathing platforms

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Fishermen crowd around the one fish left in the lake

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Fish being sold on the platform

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House in Bolshie Koty

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Our lunch stop

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The cliffs above the village provide good views (above and below)

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Boat pulled up at a dock

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Bolshie Koty

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The shoreline of the lake at Bolshie Koty

Next - back on the train to Novosibirsk!

Cheers
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Postby Noakesy » Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:01 pm

Fantastic, this is the great lake itself then (isn't it the largest freshwater body on the planet or similar?) I still find the poverty (or apparent poverty) a real surprise though.

What did you get at your lunch stop, my guess would be fish but I'm not sure I'd be keen to eat anything out of the lake hearing what goes into it.
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Postby stevel40831 » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:26 pm

Fascinating photos, thanks for sharing!

Steve

"A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in ... And how many want out."

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Postby Doggie3 » Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:07 pm

Noakesy wrote:Fantastic, this is the great lake itself then (isn't it the largest freshwater body on the planet or similar?) I still find the poverty (or apparent poverty) a real surprise though.

What did you get at your lunch stop, my guess would be fish but I'm not sure I'd be keen to eat anything out of the lake hearing what goes into it.


Noakesy, the lunch stop was quite a funny story.

Lunch had been arranged beforehand through a tour company in Irkutsk, and all they told us was to look for someone on the wharf with a sign with my name on it. We arrived at the wharf where the ferry drops you off and there were two very attractive girls waiting for us. My travelling companion, also being female and Russian speaking, was not very impressed at this. Apparently these girls' mother usually makes a "traditional" lunch for the tourists but she had to go to Irkutsk, leaving it up to her two daughters to make lunch. Of course, I wasn't allowed photos of them :shock:

Lunch was borsch, a soup primarily made of beets with meat, vegetables as well as chicken cutlet, potatoes and salad. We were glad there was no fish, as we had fish during our Selenga Delta tour and every stop we were offered fish. By the time you reach Irkutsk, the whole train smells of fish!

Lake Baikal holds 20% of the world's fresh water...pretty amazing place.

Cheers,
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Postby Doggie3 » Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:22 pm

We continued the journey westwards leaving Irkutsk and heading for Novosibirsk. This leg is 1849km, and took 29 hours.

There are several notable things to see on this stretch, not the least is the half-way point! One of the more interesting cities is Krasnoyarsk, whose bridge won an award in 1898. The city itself is very nice (I've been there a few times with work), surrounded by forested foothills and located on the Yenisy River.

Also, as you head westwards, you can see more and more derelict industry - huge complexes abandoned.


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Soon after leaving Irkutsk, we saw this train carrying old Russian military equipment.

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House by the tracks

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This one is on the steppe

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5000 km to Moscow

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Pretty typical scene - a large industrial complex with workers accomodation.

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A large complex, pretty well abandoned

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Close-up of an abandoned building

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A very pink house...

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Bread is delivered to the villages in the bread truck

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Krasnoyarsk Station

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Lenin mural at Krasnoyarsk Station

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Some people make homes out of abandoned railcars

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A Soviet memorial of some kind

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One of the many rivers...note the people swimming in it

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When it did work, there was no real pollution control on the industry

Next stop - Novosibirsk!

Cheers
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Postby Noakesy » Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:58 pm

More great pictures. I like the one of the isolated hut on the steppe - you can imagine this replicated in others parts of russia in 1942 with soldiers fighting to get the house so they could keep warm for a night - you can see the wind and snow blowing across these places pretty viciously.
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Postby Chris Merchant » Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:46 pm

Doggie3,

just another vote of thanks for the wonderful vistas you've been showing us. I find it fascinating and I think you also have a great talent with your photography.

cheers Chris
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Postby CESteman » Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:03 am

Sorry for the delay. I've been busy planning my trip to London, which is fast approaching! Yep STRAX, I watched it several times now. A co-worker turned me on to the movie, which was interesting. My friend was obsessed with the show. He wanted to buy a BMW bike (which he did). Look for me on the street I might need help :) Cheers!

Strax wrote:
CESteman wrote:Yes, I've heard of this place before I think. I was watching a UK show called the Long way around. One episode showed them stopping at a place that was really weird. It was like the water just evaporated in one day and then towns along the coast just died slowly. What a shame that was to see!



I worked on that show, albeit only in the studios in London but what a delight to know that people in San Luis are watching it.
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Postby Doggie3 » Tue Dec 16, 2008 8:55 pm

Thanks guys on the feedback...glad you are enjoying this ride across Russia! :)

Next stop was Novosibirsk. The city was founded in 1893 as a workers camp to build the Trans-Siberian railway, and in particular the bridge across the Ob River. It became a key industrial centre, and one of the largest cities in Siberia. It now has a population of around 1.5 million.
It does have a feel of a very industrial city, but we found a few sights worth seeing. The small Chapel of St.Nicholas was very nice, and the train station itself is very nice, and one of the biggest on the line.



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Of course, V.I was there, with some friends this time

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Some babushki discussing the price of flowers...

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These memorials are pretty popular - these are various heroes of the Soviet Union from the city

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Chapel of St.Nicholas

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Pokrishkin, a famous Russian aviator from the Great Patriotic War

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The train station at Novosibirsk

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Train next to a WW2 Memorial

Next...the final leg - To Moscow!

Cheers
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Postby Doggie3 » Wed Dec 17, 2008 6:58 pm

The final leg of our Trans Siberian journey. 3332km, or 53 hours on the train. This leg brought us closer to the more populated areas of Russia, and the increase in populated areas also brought an increase in the number of derelict factories and industry that lined the railway line. The wide open vistas of Siberia and the Far East gave way to gritty views of post-Soviet industrial towns, trying hard to make a living in a capitalist world. I still liked this section though, mainly for its contrasts. We still saw plenty of wide rivers and forests - just more evidence of human habitation. The weather also did not help on the last day - it rained most of the day that made it difficult to take photos from the window.
We went through the following interesting places:

* Omsk - the place of Dostovesky's exile in 1849 * Tyumen, Siberia's oldest settlement * Passed from Siberia at km marker 2102 * Passed from Asia into Europe at km marker 1777km * Perm, a large industrial city on the Kama River * Crossed the Ural Mountains at 1263km * Nizhny Novgorod, Russia's third largest city and one that I am very aquainted with through work * Vladimir, a city full of churches * Moscow, and the end!

I'll divide this section into the three days we were on the train...

Day One

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Our final leg...3332km to Moscow!

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Some nice cloud formations over the Siberian plain

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Statue of a worker looks down on a Train Miltisia

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Ruins along the railway...
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Postby Doggie3 » Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:17 pm

Day Two

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Another station stop to start the day...

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Nice scenery

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This should be familiar to most readers here...drawn on a wall along the tracks

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Out for a paddle

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This is fairly typical - a small village with one or two large apartment blocks.

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Swimming by ruins - why not!

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1669km to Moscow...half way on this leg!

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Churches and factories...there's some symbolism in that!

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Mixed use river - cow's, fisherman and swimmers...not bad so long as you are swimming upstream of the cows!

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Perm, looking back across the river

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Another derelict complex (above and below) provides great photo opportunities.

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The sun sets on our final full day on the train...
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Postby Doggie3 » Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:48 pm

Day Three

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Church takes the high ground

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Apartment blocks in Nizhny Novgorod

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A memorial to those who died on the railway

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One of my most endearing images of the journey...a man squatting in an old train, looking out into the rain...

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Patriotic War Memorial in a small village

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250km to Moscow...

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One of the Monastery complexes of Vladimir

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Another church in Vladimir

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The platform at Vladimir Station

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Moscow this way!

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Moscow!

Next...some thoughts and reflections on the Trans Siberian.

Cheers,
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