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As the train rolled across the country ...there were many sights in between the cities, which gave "texture" to the nature of this vast country .... and added to our "rudimentary" understanding of the myriad  cultures that are Russia.  Even though we've been to various parts of Russia, 11 or 12 times  ( we've lost count )....the word "rudimentary" is still appropriate.  Winston Churchill hit the nail on the head, when he stated  "Russia is a puzzle, wrapped in an enigma".  Maybe that's why we're so fascinated with the place.  

Because a lot of these sights had a common thread throughout the entire trip, we were able to group them into various categories for you...and we've interspersed them throughout this "trip story".

For instance:  Water Towers  which supplied water for the steam engines.  These can be found  along the tracks in a lot of the small towns.  They're not used much any more since electric trains replaced steam.   But the thing I could not figure out was ..... why are there windows and doors in the lower parts of these structures  ?   And interestingly enough two looked alike.


This marks the official division line between Europe & Asia   (1,777 km  or 1,104 miles east of Moscow ).

Yekaterinburg is approx. 50 km. beyond this marker.


You "war buff's" might recognize this. It's Russia's famous T-34 tank from WW2.  This military museum also has a piece of Gary Power's U2 spy plane


And here's you-know-who .... with one of the coin makers from the Russian mint.    

It figures, doesn't it?

At first glance ... this

memorial to the soldiers

killed in Afghanistan ...

 is just another big statue. 


 However, after seeing

thousands of Russian war statues, this one said

something quite unique. 

It's the only one where

the soldier looks

completely wiped-out.

  FYI:     This is where Yeltsin was raised & educated.  



As you know, Yekaterinburg 

is where the

Tsar & his family

were murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918.


center: Tsar Nicholas & Alexandra ( grand-daughter of Queen Victoria) children: .. clockwise from bottom left:

                        Alexei - Tatiana - Marie - Olga - Anastasia.


This cross marks the site of the murder. The Romanov family is in the process of erecting a   memorial church ( to the right of the cross) .... and also a memorial museum ( seen behind the cross )


This is the Impatiev house (owned by a prominent merchant).....where the family was murdered.  They arrived here in May ...and in July 1918, they were shot.

All that's left, is the cross.            Leonid Brezhnev had the house demolished in 1976.


We didn't see any "big" farms.

They all seemed to be small

individual plots.


We also saw very few "farm animals"  so the spotting of a pig or goat

or goose or even a chicken,

created the same sort of excitement that a Tom Cruise sighting

would have done.



The villages came in all sizes.    Some large this one.   But mostly ...small the ones shown below.





This was once the military headquarters of the Siberian Cossacks


and later,


 the seat of the White Russian gov't

during the civil war.


Roy particularly liked this Orb, because of the graffiti.  In the old days, the perpetrator would not have ended up as a very "happy camper"

Ahhhh yes.... the old "pectopah". 

 Oh don't get all excited. 

 It means "restaurant".


Just thought you guys might like

to get a look at some

average apartments ..


and garages

(which bear  strong resemblances to our garden storage sheds).



Considering the location of Omsk, we were somewhat surprised with the great variety of architectural styles.


On one hand,  there's the grim presence of the KGB building.   Oh...okay.....they call it something else now....

but  " a rose by any other name is still a rose".


Then on the other hand, there are fanciful "gingerbread" houses, hinting at other wonderful decorations that may be within.


Then there was the "Dostoyevsky house".  

Good old Dostoyevsky..... 

author of so many "uplifting" novels,

like  "Buried Alive In Siberia"


First ....a few things about the Ural Mountains.       We were quite surprised by the height  ( or lack of ). 

We were half-way thru them, before we even realized we were in them. 

They are the traditional border between Asia & Europe, so I guess we expected something  grander.   

 I believe the highest peak is only a little over 6200 ft..   The rest resembles "rolling hills".


However what they lack in height.... is more than compensated for by length  ( 1250 miles ) ......and mineral deposits.

The mountains contain vast vast vast deposits of iron ore, precious metals, coal, oil, and some of the best quality gems in the world.

( not too shabby for being "short" ).


We traveled thru endless miles of what is called  "taiga".   Taiga refers to the very thick pine forests ( intermingled birch, aspen & maple trees), which cover much of the central part of the trans-Siberian route.  

Large parts of it are quite swampy...... and because of the lack of distinctive landmarks, hundreds upon hundreds people have died in that area.

 I repeat...rewatch the train ride  in "Dr. Zhivago".


Actually ....the Taiga area contains one third of all the world's trees ( and I think we saw every single one of them. )    


Okay now.........just how many birch trees do you want to see ?  We have at least 80 more shots that we're willing to "share".

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