Sunday, 13 April 2008

Trepanation

If anyone has read "The Northern Lights" then they will know a little about the mysterious old practice of trepanning; literally boring a hole in your head for medical or mystical reasons. Depsite much looking we have yet to see any Tartars with holes in their head!
Our first train journey on the Transiberian Express was very comfortable. We had a stern and jug sized Provodnitsa bringing us lovely cups of black Russian tea (just with lemon and sugar - Kathy loves the stuff) poured from a shiny old samovar (kettle for hot water). The carriage played 'Retro Radio', which consisted of lots of Paul McCartney with some 80s' gems.
Being left alone for the first time, and without Emily to guide us (!), we couldn't find our hotel. Luckily the staff of 'France Tours Kazan' helped out.
The most impressive part of Kazan is the Kremlin, which shares an Orthodox Cathedral and a Mosque within walking distance of each other, which reflects the cultural balance between ethnic Russians and Tartars in Tartarstan. On Friday there were one or two weddings parading around getting their snapshots taken. Bride was on the mobile and the groom was smoking a fag. (very Russian behaviour, Emily tells us!).
On the main shopping street - Kazan's answer to Buchanan Street - they pump the loudest Russian Euro pop day and night.
We found a brilliant wee cafe for tea by following our noses on the second night. Nothing looks like it's open. You just need to open doors and find out. The owner ordered everything for us - tasty noodle soup, a shashlik lamb topped with a cheesy omelette and some salad. Delicious.

We have also used our Spork for the first time - thanks Ross!! - on a picnic on the beach. Not too many Russians there (a mere 22 degrees is far too chilly) but one old man roasting himself like shashlik wearing just his underpants and a few brave beach volleyball players. (One kept her socks on since the sand was rather cold.)

May not have photos for a while as internet cafes not allowing us to upload them.

3 comments:

Mum said...

Hi Both
Once the hair grows Athole you wont have to wear the woolly hat!!.The journey goes on and surival begins.Dad and I got started in the garden this week,spring is just around the corner,but still alot of snow on the "Cairn",lovely from the village!!
Enjoying the Blog
Take care
Love MumandDad XX

Mum said...

Hi Both
Once the hair grows Athole you wont have to wear the woolly hat!!.The journey goes on and surival begins.Dad and I got started in the garden this week,spring is just around the corner,but still alot of snow on the "Cairn",lovely from the village!!
Enjoying the Blog
Take care
Love MumandDad XX

Pamski said...

Hellooooooo!!
Loving the blog and finding out all about your journey and your wee adventures.
How's the travel scrabble?
Pamela, xx