Jen and Johnny's Excellent Adventure travel blog

Russian - Afghan War Memorial

"I'm in Asia", "I'm in Europe"


Jen playing with the dogs

Hi again!

Wow, Yekaterinburg was great! We arrived after over two full days on the train. The company of Darren, Karen, Steve, and Ben (also returning home to the U.K. after a year of traveling - it should be noted that Ben's aunt makes the queens bras!) was great, but I must admit it was nice to finally be off the train. Once we arrived we immediately took a tour of the city and visited a museum. We learned some of the history of Yekaterinburg, how and why it was founded and what contributed to it becoming the 3rd largest city in Russia. We visited a memorial to the soldiers who died in the Russian - Afghanistan War. There were also some special hidden tributes there to all the "secret" Russian wars of the past 100 years or so. After our city tour Jen and I were taken to our home-stay where we met our host Elena. Elena is an English professor at one of the local colleges (there are in fact almost 30 Universities in Yekaterinburg) and really enjoyed chatting with Jen and I about our travels and our thoughts about Russia. I should also mention that she is a fantastic cook and spoiled us rotten with some wonderful traditional Russian dinners and breakfasts. Believe it or not I'm a huge convert to beets and Russian Borscht might just be my new favorite soup!

The next morning in Yekaterinburg Jen and I were picked up by a car that took us west into the Urals where we were to go Dog Sledding!!! We stopped and took some pictures at the obelisk that marks the divide between Europe and Asia and then proceeded deep into the forest. Once there, we got out of the truck and our driver let the dogs out to run and go to the bathroom before he started to tie them to the sleds. We sled just short of 10k over about 3 or 4 hours that included a rest for lunch and some very slow, but much needed practice at the beginning. It wasn't terribly difficult cause the dogs pretty much knew the way, but it still took some practice to keep from flipping the sled (which did happen once or twice). I would kind of compare it to skiing, in that you had to control the skies on the sled in much the same fashion as you do when you downhill ski (balancing your wait between your left and right foot). Jen and I took turns on the back of the sled with the other riding up front, and I do have to admit that it's easily one of the coolest things we've done on this trip. Anyway, after finishing up with the dogs we headed back to Yekaterinburg and had another amazing dinner prepared by Elena. I set my alarm for 1am in order to watch the World Cup pool selection (U.S. is seeded with Italy and the Czech Rep. for those who don't know) and then back to bed before we headed to the train station early the next morning. Yekaterinburg was great and we both had an amazing time there. If we learned nothing else while we were there, at least now we have some appreciation for just how dramatic the difference between -19F and +10F really is! Okay take care everyone, next time we write it will be from Moscow!

- Johnny

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