Irkutsk- A Cradle of Russian America
Trip Start Mar 01, 2012
177Trip End Ongoing
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But I enjoyed my day here. Becoming a pro at charades and figuring out who might speak a little English. Found my way to the hostel, which like many of the places I've recently stayed is just someone's living room with a bunch of bunk beds... I was going to take a taxi, but she wanted 200 rubles for a ride that I knew wouldn't take more than 5-6 minutes, and I'd just paid 100 for a 75 minute ride from Baikal! (An extra 30 for my bag! No suprise since the minibus squeezed multiple people into a space built for one. My bag could have been one more paying customet!) I took the tram
Walked down Lenin Street past the display about Russian America (Alaska!) It's interesting how connected Irkutsk is with Alaska, but more interesting is the connection with Fort Ross (just north of SF). Apparently there is an Irkutsk- Fort Ross Club that teaches kids about the Russian-American history and hosts an annual summer camp in Baikal. Continued towards the historic center and into some beautiful cathedrals.
I know it was wrong. I knew someone would stop me. I just couldn't resist recording the hauntingly beautiful singing during this afternoon service at the Church of the Savior (Built in 1706, Eastern Siberia's oldest stone building) I kept my camera focused away from people, but it took less than 20 seconds for me to get busted. I donned a scarf and sat quietly through the next service at Bogoyavlensky Cathedral to make up for it.
Saw these strange locks on the bridge behind the Eternal Flame monument. No one could answer my inquiries beyond disputing my theory that they were memorials to jumpers. Maybe they are to wish newlyweds good luck...I saw two weddings taking place. Seems kind of weird for a Wednesday afternoon.
Wandered aimlessly looking for a synagogue. Not really. I had my map and asked several people, including two ladies with fresh stitches, black eyes and a neck collar- I've reached a new low in direction seeking decorum, not even realizing that I was talking to hospital patients- I can't read the signs! And they were outside for a smoke break- how hurt could they be? Figured I'd be seeing a lot of churches in the near future, but I couldn't find it.
Enjoyed a little fast food dinner, Russian style- kasha with mushrooms and salmon blinys. Such an improvement over Mongolian food. And it's nice to be back in a country that reveres the paper napkin!
People watched on what I'm guessing would be Lenin Square, and saw all the girls dressed in heels and cocktail dresses for a stroll. Watched the sun begin to set (at 10pm!) with many others out for the evening- picnicking, roller blading and kissing by the shore of the Angara River. Funny how in the city, people find a pretty spot outdoors to congregate.