A City of 'Bloody History'

Trip Start Apr 03, 2013
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Flag of Russia  , Urals,
Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Most of the day today was spent on the train. The bed was hard as a rock so it was like sleeping on a board, not the most comfy but can't really complain as we still got some good sleep.  The cabins are all really hot as the heating is up to 25 degrees so it is quite a shock from outside to inside.  However, we were very lucky to have our own air conditioning on the train as the window didn’t close properly so we had nice cold air flowing through.  We also found out our travel companions who are in second class have a nice modern carriage with flashy loos and not a foot pedal in sight to flush.  Something seems a little odd here I think, hmmm.  We also decided to have a spot of food for lunch on the train and were joined by Deb and Mike.  We sat around chatting for a while and then thought it might be nice to have a wine.  Well that was a struggle, apparently they didn’t have any wine or didn’t understand what we were saying anyway.

So we have now entered the start of Siberia.  We experienced the sellers of goods on the station who were yelling up to us in our cabin at one stop trying to sell us glasses.  We got to see the scenery of snow building up around us, hopefully it won’t be too cold.  We suddenly came to an abrupt standstill 1hr 30mins out of town.  Looks like we are going to be late.

We finally get to check in to the hotel.  Interesting is how Lonely Planet describe our hotel and I think this might be an understatement.  We check in and are escorted to our room, where we find we have been greeted by our own water feature.  The water was coming in through the window and also from the bathroom roof, interesting in deed.  So we are shipped off to another room where we had to be careful in the shower and watch your step as when you moved so did the shower!!  I guess the holes in the walls were meant for ventilation??  Don’t think they worked as the room was really hot. As we were late into Yekaterinburg we decided to have dinner in the hotel.  Apparently they like to do things separately, so Steve had to watch me eat my dinner and then he ate my left overs and then he was given his meal, a little odd we thought??

Our day in Yekaterinburg brings us another tour.  We got to see a few sights covering the Europe/Asia border.  Here you can see where the newlyweds tie ribbons to the trees to try and bring them good luck.  The tradition also sees them drinking champagne and then putting a message in the bottle.  They have now made a wall from all the champagne bottles.  Steve and I decided to unite ourselves across the border with a little ceremonial hand holding.

Our tour guide also gave us a little pressie.  It was the amethyst stone.  We are lead to believe that this stone will help you to not be drunk, so probably good one for me to keep close by!!  The Urals are quite famous for their semi-precious stones, probably the most famous is the Malecite, a pretty green stone.  The stone is on a key ring which is the symbolic key to the city!! 

Next stop was the Ganina Yama, this is the site where the last Tsar family (Nicholas II) were buried in the pit.  After they were murdered the bodies were taken to the pit in the evening and thrown in.  By morning they noticed that they were floating.  It was decided that they would pull the bodies out and then try to burn them, as they could not get the fire hot enough they then poured the bodies in hydrochloric acid and burnt them.  The bones were then thrown into the pit.  These bones were discovered and taken to St Petersburg and buried in the Peter and Paul cathedral in 1998.  The site is now a memorial site for the family and they have 7 churches for each family member (2 parents and 5 children) all made from wood.  The churches are being rebuilt on a regular basis as they are made from wood and the area catches fire on a regular basis.  The churches are quite simple which from the materials used and the decoration this is to reflect the old days.  Due to the strong religious belief in the Orthodox Church, women are not allowed to wear trousers into this site or have an uncovered head.  So you have to put on a lovey red apron and cover up your head.

Then we headed off to 'Cathedral on the blood’ via the train station to get our tickets for the next journey. The church was built in 2001 over a period of 3 years.  It was privately funded and is completely over the top with decoration.  The church was built as close as possible to the site in which the Tsar family were inprosiond in April and then killed July 1918.  In the small basement there were 22 people in total, there were 11 killed, 7 family members and their helpers and 11 firing squad.  The Lithuanian team were originally asked to do the killing but refused as they did not want to kill the women and children and there was no official order.  So they found 11 inexperience rifle men and had them do the shootings. This was how so many mistakes were made and panic set in.  The house was knocked down under order from Boris Yeltsin in 1970.  The church is built over the top and they have a small memorial in the church for the family.  The lower part of the church is dark for respect for the family.  The second floor (unfortunately it wasn’t opened due to restoration) is bright and has a tribute to every Russian orthodox saint. 

Then we headed around the city by car.  We stopped to look at a few sights such as the old dam and the statue of the founders (known to the local kids as Beavis and Butthead as the statues have their backs to the church and the facial expressions are odd).  There are a few remaining statues throughout the soviet period here which have not been pulled down.

We discovered that this is not a tourist town as we were not able to find a souvenir shop anywhere!!  So Steve had to wait until we hit the train station again to buy his souvenirs!!

We decided that we would stock up for the train this time as we have 3 days ahead of us!!  So off to the supermarket we went.  We got everything we needed and then went to pay.  We were then told off at the till and in true Steve style he just stood there with a blank face and then they looked at me and hoped for the best.  The problem was that we had grabbed things from both levels and you had to pay on each level for what you want there.  Not to worry we know for next time.

We had some dinner in the local pub as we couldn’t find the restaurant we were looking for.  Meal was still fine even though they had a massive steak menu they didn’t have any steak to offer.  Steve felt the need when he walked into the near empty pub to ask for a table, they looked just as amused by this as I was.  Not to worry all was good.

Back to the hotel for our pick up for the train.  Steve filled up our water bottles and also decided it would be a good time to scold his hand on boiling hot water.  Hopefully he mends well but doesn’t look very good right now L so that makes injury number 1!!

We have had an extremely large wakeup call on the train today.  We have a second class buy out of a cabin so still have our own to ourselves, however, it is like a prison cell.  Stripped mattress that is not a mattress at all as it is hard and lumpy.  Our day stewardess is a right grumpy lady so try and avoid her at all costs.  Only 3 nights though!! 

Most of the day today was spent on the train.  The bed was hard as a rock so it was like sleeping on a board, not the most comfy but can’t really complain as we still got some good sleep.  The cabins are all really hot as the heating is up to 25 degrees so it is quite a shock from outside to inside.  However, we were very lucky to have our own air conditioning on the train as the window didn’t close properly so we had nice cold air flowing through.  We also found out our travel companions who are in second class have a nice modern carriage with flashy loos and not a foot pedal in sight to flush.  Something seems a little odd here I think, hmmm.  We also decided to have a spot of food for lunch on the train and were joined by Deb and Mike.  We sat around chatting for a while and then thought it might be nice to have a wine.  Well that was a struggle, apparently they didn’t have any wine or didn’t understand what we were saying anyway.

So we have now entered the start of Siberia.  We experienced the sellers of goods on the station who were yelling up to us in our cabin at one stop trying to sell us glasses.  We got to see the scenery of snow building up around us, hopefully it won’t be too cold.  We suddenly came to an abrupt standstill 1hr 30mins out of town.  Looks like we are going to be late.

We finally get to check in to the hotel.  Interesting is how Lonely Planet describe our hotel and I think this might be an understatement.  We check in and are escorted to our room, where we find we have been greeted by our own water feature.  The water was coming in through the window and also from the bathroom roof, interesting in deed.  So we are shipped off to another room where we had to be careful in the shower and watch your step as when you moved so did the shower!!  I guess the holes in the walls were meant for ventilation??  Don’t think they worked as the room was really hot. As we were late into Yekaterinburg we decided to have dinner in the hotel.  Apparently they like to do things separately, so Steve had to watch me eat my dinner and then he ate my left overs and then he was given his meal, a little odd we thought??

Our day in Yekaterinburg brings us another tour.  We got to see a few sights covering the Europe/Asia border.  Here you can see where the newlyweds tie ribbons to the trees to try and bring them good luck.  The tradition also sees them drinking champagne and then putting a message in the bottle.  They have now made a wall from all the champagne bottles.  Steve and I decided to unite ourselves across the border with a little ceremonial hand holding.

Our tour guide also gave us a little pressie.  It was the amethyst stone.  We are lead to believe that this stone will help you to not be drunk, so probably good one for me to keep close by!!  The Urals are quite famous for their semi-precious stones, probably the most famous is the Malecite, a pretty green stone.  The stone is on a key ring which is the symbolic key to the city!! 

Next stop was the Ganina Yama, this is the site where the last Tsar family (Nicholas II) were buried in the pit.  After they were murdered the bodies were taken to the pit in the evening and thrown in.  By morning they noticed that they were floating.  It was decided that they would pull the bodies out and then try to burn them, as they could not get the fire hot enough they then poured the bodies in hydrochloric acid and burnt them.  The bones were then thrown into the pit.  These bones were discovered and taken to St Petersburg and buried in the Peter and Paul cathedral in 1998.  The site is now a memorial site for the family and they have 7 churches for each family member (2 parents and 5 children) all made from wood.  The churches are being rebuilt on a regular basis as they are made from wood and the area catches fire on a regular basis.  The churches are quite simple which from the materials used and the decoration this is to reflect the old days.  Due to the strong religious belief in the Orthodox Church, women are not allowed to wear trousers into this site or have an uncovered head.  So you have to put on a lovey red apron and cover up your head.

Then we headed off to ‘Cathedral on the blood’ via the train station to get our tickets for the next journey. The church was built in 2001 over a period of 3 years.  It was privately funded and is completely over the top with decoration.  The church was built as close as possible to the site in which the Tsar family were inprosiond in April and then killed July 1918.  In the small basement there were 22 people in total, there were 11 killed, 7 family members and their helpers and 11 firing squad.  The Lithuanian team were originally asked to do the killing but refused as they did not want to kill the women and children and there was no official order.  So they found 11 inexperience rifle men and had them do the shootings. This was how so many mistakes were made and panic set in.  The house was knocked down under order from Boris Yeltsin in 1970.  The church is built over the top and they have a small memorial in the church for the family.  The lower part of the church is dark for respect for the family.  The second floor (unfortunately it wasn’t opened due to restoration) is bright and has a tribute to every Russian orthodox saint. 

Then we headed around the city by car.  We stopped to look at a few sights such as the old dam and the statue of the founders (known to the local kids as Beavis and Butthead as the statues have their backs to the church and the facial expressions are odd).  There are a few remaining statues throughout the soviet period here which have not been pulled down.

We discovered that this is not a tourist town as we were not able to find a souvenir shop anywhere!!  So Steve had to wait until we hit the train station again to buy his souvenirs!!

We decided that we would stock up for the train this time as we have 3 days ahead of us!!  So off to the supermarket we went.  We got everything we needed and then went to pay.  We were then told off at the till and in true Steve style he just stood there with a blank face and then they looked at me and hoped for the best.  The problem was that we had grabbed things from both levels and you had to pay on each level for what you want there.  Not to worry we know for next time.

We had some dinner in the local pub as we couldn’t find the restaurant we were looking for.  Meal was still fine even though they had a massive steak menu they didn’t have any steak to offer.  Steve felt the need when he walked into the near empty pub to ask for a table, they looked just as amused by this as I was.  Not to worry all was good.

Back to the hotel for our pick up for the train.  Steve filled up our water bottles and also decided it would be a good time to scold his hand on boiling hot water.  Hopefully he mends well but doesn’t look very good right now L so that makes injury number 1!!

We have had an extremely large wakeup call on the train today.  We have a second class buy out of a cabin so still have our own to ourselves, however, it is like a prison cell.  Stripped mattress that is not a mattress at all as it is hard and lumpy.  Our day stewardess is a right grumpy lady so try and avoid her at all costs.  Only 3 nights though!! 

Most of the day today was spent on the train.  The bed was hard as a rock so it was like sleeping on a board, not the most comfy but can’t really complain as we still got some good sleep.  The cabins are all really hot as the heating is up to 25 degrees so it is quite a shock from outside to inside.  However, we were very lucky to have our own air conditioning on the train as the window didn’t close properly so we had nice cold air flowing through.  We also found out our travel companions who are in second class have a nice modern carriage with flashy loos and not a foot pedal in sight to flush.  Something seems a little odd here I think, hmmm.  We also decided to have a spot of food for lunch on the train and were joined by Deb and Mike.  We sat around chatting for a while and then thought it might be nice to have a wine.  Well that was a struggle, apparently they didn’t have any wine or didn’t understand what we were saying anyway.

So we have now entered the start of Siberia.  We experienced the sellers of goods on the station who were yelling up to us in our cabin at one stop trying to sell us glasses.  We got to see the scenery of snow building up around us, hopefully it won’t be too cold.  We suddenly came to an abrupt standstill 1hr 30mins out of town.  Looks like we are going to be late.

We finally get to check in to the hotel.  Interesting is how Lonely Planet describe our hotel and I think this might be an understatement.  We check in and are escorted to our room, where we find we have been greeted by our own water feature.  The water was coming in through the window and also from the bathroom roof, interesting in deed.  So we are shipped off to another room where we had to be careful in the shower and watch your step as when you moved so did the shower!!  I guess the holes in the walls were meant for ventilation??  Don’t think they worked as the room was really hot. As we were late into Yekaterinburg we decided to have dinner in the hotel.  Apparently they like to do things separately, so Steve had to watch me eat my dinner and then he ate my left overs and then he was given his meal, a little odd we thought??

Our day in Yekaterinburg brings us another tour.  We got to see a few sights covering the Europe/Asia border.  Here you can see where the newlyweds tie ribbons to the trees to try and bring them good luck.  The tradition also sees them drinking champagne and then putting a message in the bottle.  They have now made a wall from all the champagne bottles.  Steve and I decided to unite ourselves across the border with a little ceremonial hand holding.

Our tour guide also gave us a little pressie.  It was the amethyst stone.  We are lead to believe that this stone will help you to not be drunk, so probably good one for me to keep close by!!  The Urals are quite famous for their semi-precious stones, probably the most famous is the Malecite, a pretty green stone.  The stone is on a key ring which is the symbolic key to the city!! 

Next stop was the Ganina Yama, this is the site where the last Tsar family (Nicholas II) were buried in the pit.  After they were murdered the bodies were taken to the pit in the evening and thrown in.  By morning they noticed that they were floating.  It was decided that they would pull the bodies out and then try to burn them, as they could not get the fire hot enough they then poured the bodies in hydrochloric acid and burnt them.  The bones were then thrown into the pit.  These bones were discovered and taken to St Petersburg and buried in the Peter and Paul cathedral in 1998.  The site is now a memorial site for the family and they have 7 churches for each family member (2 parents and 5 children) all made from wood.  The churches are being rebuilt on a regular basis as they are made from wood and the area catches fire on a regular basis.  The churches are quite simple which from the materials used and the decoration this is to reflect the old days.  Due to the strong religious belief in the Orthodox Church, women are not allowed to wear trousers into this site or have an uncovered head.  So you have to put on a lovey red apron and cover up your head.

Then we headed off to ‘Cathedral on the blood’ via the train station to get our tickets for the next journey. The church was built in 2001 over a period of 3 years.  It was privately funded and is completely over the top with decoration.  The church was built as close as possible to the site in which the Tsar family were inprosiond in April and then killed July 1918.  In the small basement there were 22 people in total, there were 11 killed, 7 family members and their helpers and 11 firing squad.  The Lithuanian team were originally asked to do the killing but refused as they did not want to kill the women and children and there was no official order.  So they found 11 inexperience rifle men and had them do the shootings. This was how so many mistakes were made and panic set in.  The house was knocked down under order from Boris Yeltsin in 1970.  The church is built over the top and they have a small memorial in the church for the family.  The lower part of the church is dark for respect for the family.  The second floor (unfortunately it wasn’t opened due to restoration) is bright and has a tribute to every Russian orthodox saint. 

Then we headed around the city by car.  We stopped to look at a few sights such as the old dam and the statue of the founders (known to the local kids as Beavis and Butthead as the statues have their backs to the church and the facial expressions are odd).  There are a few remaining statues throughout the soviet period here which have not been pulled down.

We discovered that this is not a tourist town as we were not able to find a souvenir shop anywhere!!  So Steve had to wait until we hit the train station again to buy his souvenirs!!

We decided that we would stock up for the train this time as we have 3 days ahead of us!!  So off to the supermarket we went.  We got everything we needed and then went to pay.  We were then told off at the till and in true Steve style he just stood there with a blank face and then they looked at me and hoped for the best.  The problem was that we had grabbed things from both levels and you had to pay on each level for what you want there.  Not to worry we know for next time.

We had some dinner in the local pub as we couldn’t find the restaurant we were looking for.  Meal was still fine even though they had a massive steak menu they didn’t have any steak to offer.  Steve felt the need when he walked into the near empty pub to ask for a table, they looked just as amused by this as I was.  Not to worry all was good.

Back to the hotel for our pick up for the train.  Steve filled up our water bottles and also decided it would be a good time to scold his hand on boiling hot water.  Hopefully he mends well but doesn’t look very good right now L so that makes injury number 1!!

We have had an extremely large wakeup call on the train today.  We have a second class buy out of a cabin so still have our own to ourselves, however, it is like a prison cell.  Stripped mattress that is not a mattress at all as it is hard and lumpy.  Our day stewardess is a right grumpy lady so try and avoid her at all costs.  Only 3 nights though!! 
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