Farewell Novosibirsk


Queen Yulia Vortex of Novosibirsk

Monument to the first traffic light in Novosibirsk.

Yana multitasking at some length..

In a strange balancing of Karma, Lari cleans everything up straight away and the first thing I hear when I awake in the early afternoon is that I have to check under the couch in case she missed something.
“I think we’re even then”, Lari announces.
“You didn’t have to haul my corpse up three flights of stairs Lari”, I retort, smiling grimly.
“Maybe, but if that was the case, you would’ve stayed at the bottom”, she adds.
I know she’s right.
“Thank you Lari, I’ll check the floor when I wake up more.”
“How was dinner last night then?”
“Reindeer is fantastic. I ate Rudolph and Don got Donner and Blitzen.”
“What about Lukash?”
“Oh he took the red nose before I could stop him.”
I drain the litre of water that’s in a bottle next to the bed and she quietly refills it. I pass out and wake up to an empty house in the late afternoon and wash myself and the floor trying to do something with the day.

I manage to arrange for Lukash to stay with the same host as us in Irkutsk when the crew arrive back from a visit to ‘Zhilli Billi’, a traditional Russian themed restaurant. ‘Zhilli Billi’ are the words used to start children’s stories that would translate as ‘Once upon a time’. Apparently our resident Italian, Marco, has volunteered to make a pasta dinner for us, but he’s pointing out its going to be very simple since he’s not a chef of any description. We cook up the remaining pelmeni and eat them while he’s hard at work. Yana insists on putting mayonnaise on the pasta, which Marco jokingly bans.
“That is French! This is Italian! You insult my family and my country by using this terrible mayonnaise!”
Yana pouts again while pouring more on and eating it.
“But…..it tastes good, so good.”
We agree and Marco ends up trying some while nobody is watching.

Yana showing Marco Ukranian party tricks...

Dhugal and Don in Siberia

Our train leaves at midnight, so we pack up everything and all of us give gifts to Vortex Yulia and Yana. I’ve managed to save a tinned platypus for Vortex Yulia, since she said she liked them so much on the first day. I also spread around the little kangaroos and koalas so her sister and family can find them everywhere. They all accompany us to the train station and we say heartfelt farewells on the platform. We have been their real introduction to the world of Couchsurfing and they tell us they’ve had a great time in the last week. We’ve had so many laughs, cries, triumphs, miseries, tumbles and recoveries it feels like a month has passed. I know I will be talking to Vortex Yulia and Yana for many years to come and I can’t wait until the moment arrives when I can give them a huge hug and catch up over a couple of (dozen) beers. Once again, my body is exhausted and we get onboard the train just minutes before it rolls out of the station. We wave from the window and for the first time I begin to realise that I feel that I’m coming back to Russia. My time here has been too short and my heart has been snagged.

Yulia with my family scarf...



Yana with my family scarf...


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