Friday, 30 August 2013

Siberian Surprise

Go on.  Admit it.  When you think of Siberia, you imagine cold weather and oppressed people in drab clothes.  Well I did.  What a contrast the truth turned out to be.  Today we had to go in pursuit of sunglasses.  I had squashed my best charity shop pair with my rear end.  What a sad way to go. 

We found Irkutsk to be a thriving shopping centre with indoor/outdoor markets and Meadow Hell without the hell part. No crushes here.  One stall was selling reading glasses.  Pointing to the sun, then pointing to the boxes of glasses, I wanted to hug her when she twigged on.  Only six pounds.  A little more than my Blythswood specials but less than I expected.

Hubby was in awe of the size of the cauliflowers around here.  He wished he had a carrot as big too.  Oops, sorry.  Bit rude that.  Stalls positively groaned under the weight of buckets and bouquets of flowers.  

The inside market was just as interesting.  You don't get steaks that size in Morrisons.  Fish, meat, cheeses.  You name it and they had it.  Everything looked hygienic too.

From the market, we headed out of town.  We reached the end of the tourist green line.  This is an imaginary line.  Life would have been easier if the had painted it.  

Here there is a beautiful church full of icons and elaborate gold ornaments.  People were praying by different pictures so we stole quietly away.

Across the road we spotted a unique part of Irkutsk.  The oldest part of town has been restored.  Linked to this, new buildings have been added along with walkways and stairs to different levels.  It had a cosmopolitan feel.  Everyone looked happy and relaxed as the wandered around in their fashionable clothes.  

We walked up a set of stairs.  I was greeted by a custard-coloured Cyclops.  He got down on one knee but I had to refuse his proposal. From the top of the stairs we had a brilliant view across Irkutsk.

We took shelter in the air-conditioned shopping complex at the end of the walk way.  Even here, a bride was wandering having her photo taken.  We sucked in our breaths as she boarded the downstairs elevator.  Her dress just missed the closing teeth.  

Many of the shops here are exactly the same as those in Britain.  Part of me is relieved but there is a tiny bit that wishes I could have seen the old Irkutsk.  So now. We are waiting once more to rejoin the train for the next part of our adventure.  Bye for now x x 

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