Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Ust-Koksa and Tyungur, Altai

Now when it's about -30 outside, it's the right time to remember the summer and one of the most attractive and amazing destinations in Altai mountains - Ust-Koksa district, a mecca for thousands and thousands of hikers not only from Russia, but from all over the world. I've met a couple from Germany there, for example, and I often see questions and opinions about the district at various international forums and discussion boards.
The reason of such broad interest is Mt.Belukha, the highest peak in Altai and one of the highest in Russia, which is a hiking and mountaineering goal for loads of travelers, picturesque Akkem lake at the foot of this mountain, plenty of other beautiful mountain lakes, Multa lakes inclusive (I've written about it earlier) and a lot of other attractions, which make this long trip worth doing. Tyungur is about 900 km away from Novosibirsk, but we didn't mind, because we didn't drive too much within one day, so the travel was rather relaxed.
And what I liked most is that the region is really wild, with as little civilization as one can possibly imagine. Of course there are cell phones, internet connection and television there too, but  it is not pronounced and one doesn't even feel one needs all these things there.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Tomskaya Pisanitsa in winter

I've already written a post about Tomskaya Pisanitsa, an open-air museum of rock art containing a lot of other amazing artifacts of Russian and Siberian culture.
We went there in May and were determined to return either in summer or in winter, on one of Russian folk festivals. We failed to do it in summer, as there were a lot of other travels, short and long, but as the winter holidays were long and relatively warm for Siberia, we went there again. In winter Tomskaya Pisanitsa becomes the Siberian residence of Ded Moros (Father Frost), with several New Year trees, a log cabin where Ded Moros and Snegurochka dwell and two exciting long wooden slides.

Friday, 13 January 2012

The 12th festival of ice and snow sculptures in Novosibirsk

As it is Old New Year's Eve today, I want to give one more present to my readers.
Within the period from January 8 till the end of the month our city is happy to welcome the 12th festival of ice and snow sculptures.
I wrote about the previous one a year ago, I hope you liked it. If you haven't seen it yet,  here's the link:
Beautiful, isn't it?
This year they are superb, too! And it just cannot be different, snow looks beautiful even unformed, just lying around, and if a sculpture is made from it, it's a work of art, joint creation of man and nature.

Happy Old New Year!

The 14th of January is the strangest Russian Holiday, and the most difficult to explain to foreigners, but I'll try, and first of all I would like to wish all of you happy Old New Year!
The tradition dates back to 1918 when the young Soviet Russia officially adopted the Gregorian calendar, but the Russian Orthodox Church continued to use the Julian calendar. The New Year became a holiday which is celebrated by both calendars. At the same time Christianity was banned in Soviet Russia, but people here are tough, and they went on following Christian traditions, including New Year celebrations.
The Old New Year is an informal holiday. No one gets a day-off, but people keep congratulating each other, even giving present, cooking large meals, using fireworks, and arranging parties. The tradition of celebrating the coming of the New Year twice is widely enjoyed: January 1 (New New Year) and January 14 (Old New Year).
And it is normally on the 14th of January, when all Christmas and New Year decorations, illumination and Christmas trees are put away, though the ice and snow figures remain until they melt away in spring.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Town of ice on the Ob Embankment in Novosibirsk

This winter the embankment of the Ob river in Novosibirsk invites everyone to the 'town' of ice. This beautiful tradition has existed for I don't know how many years already, and snow and ice architects do their best to surprise people. This time they've beaten all their previous masterpieces, having created something like a miniature St.Petersburg, this year's theme.
I didn't manage to visit the 'town' the two previous winters, it was extremely cold, and I don't remember very well the themes of the winters I did manage to go there, but there is always a certain theme.
 It is huge work, with all the amount of ice needed to build the figures, so the entrance should be paid. This year it is 150 rubles per person (children under 7 are granted free access). Besides, if you leave the territory to get something from your car, for example, you have to buy a new ticket. Not very cheap, especially if you go with your whole family, but definitely worth the money.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

More ice and snow decorations in Novosibirsk

The 1st of January is a perfect day for a city walk. Few people, nearly empty streets, plus perfect weather this time.
We went for a nice walk, visited several parks and took more photos of ice and snow decorations. It is about -8 C now, and after several previous years it is nature's gorgeous present. One can be out nearly all day long, and this is what we are going to do the next days as well.
 And now more snow and ice figures