Sunday, January 17, 2010

Great way to spend the weekend

Had a marvelous day today in Krasnoyarsk.
My agency rep hooked me up with two students from the University that are studying English and they took me on a tour of the town. I saw statues of the founder of the city and of Lenin, the little chapel on the hill that is so cool and we got to hear them shoot off a real cannon there--which they do every single day at 12 noon, no matter the weather. They showed me several other sights of the city and a beautiful scenic overlook on the Enisy River outside of the city.
There is a neat tradition at the overlook--couples stop up there after their weddings. They bring a padlock with their names on it and lock it to the fence surrounding the overlook and then toss the key into the river far below--this symbolizes being locked together forever and is a good start to the marriage.
We ended the day at the Planeta Mall--a large shopping complex much like our malls in big cities.

Some things I saw or learned today--
--The city was founded in the early 1600’s by an explorer sent out by the government to check out this region of Siberia. They erected a statue of the spot where he stood when he decided to name the area Krasnoyarsk. It is high on the banks overlooking the river and the word Krasnoyarsk (in old Russian) means “The beautiful banks of the river”. He really thought the area was beautiful with it’s rolling hills and trees. Now you can only see city from that area.
--The river divides the East and West sides of the city. The East side has many factories and is important to the economy of Krasnoyarsk but the West side is considered prettier and nicer to live in.
--Krasnoyarsk if known as the city of fountains--there are hundreds of fountains in the city--unfortunately it gets too cold here to have them running in the winter but you can see the bases for them all over town.
--At one time they wanted to infuse some culture into Krasnoyarsk so they built a mini Eiffel tower and a smaller copy of the Arc De Triumph. I have never seen the actual ones but the Eiffel tower is definitely much much smaller than the real one.
--Every single day at noon the soldiers shoot off a real cannon on the hill in the city--we went up there and got there just in time to hear it go off.
--Public transport is very developed in all of Russia. Krasnoyarsk built a new train station in 2004--it is very large and considered one of the most beautiful ones in Russia.
--Almost every city in Russia has a statue to Lenin and Krasnoyarsk has a large one in the city center.
--There is a ski area just outside of the city--we did not go but saw it.
--Krasnoyarsk has a big zoo--we may go there next weekend.
--There is an island on the river in the middle of town that is accessible only by foot or bike--no cars are allowed on the bridge. It is a popular spot in the summer for relaxation--swimming, biking, picnics, sunbathing, etc.

I had a lovely afternoon with the girls and it was a great way to pass the time and to learn more about the city.

me in front of the Eiffel tower

little chapel on the hill

Arc de Triumph--Krasnoyarsk style

overlooking the Enisy River

Me with Oksana and Nastya


Cameron and Kyle said...

So beautiful. Must have been a truely wonderful experience to learn all about the area with two kind local ladies.

lisa said...

How fun is that?how was the girl's English? I bet the loved having someone to talk with? Loved all the pictures! You are doing great with that, I'm going to have to ask u questions about posting!


Anita said...

Looks like you had a great day! I'm glad you're getting to see some of the sites.

Gretchen said...

What a wonderful way to see the city! It sounds like you had a great time. Those pictures are beautiful but man it looks COLD! I wouldn't last five minutes there.

This may seem strange but I love the lock and key story. Wouldn't it be neat to write you and your child's name on a lock and do the same. I know you aren't being married (that is why it sounds kinda weird) but you are being joined into a family forever.

Kelly and Sne said...

Fun! You'll have great memories of the place where your daughter is from. Ones that she will treasure as well.

Kim said...

Beautiful pictures! Volgograd had at least 2 huge statues of Lenin and many of Stalin. Wait until you get to explore Moscow - you can play a game counting all the statues! :)

Mama Andrea said...

Oh my gosh! Everything I missed while traveling! Love the pic of the river, cannot wait to read the rest of your blog! So exciting!!!!! And just wait when everybody and their dog starts calling you mommy and you say to people, "this is my daughter," and hear yourself. So many smiles and laughter ahead for you!