Two Hundred Days

I saw the sea again, today. I heard the roar of the waves, tasted the salt on my tongue, felt the wind in my hair. It had been over two hundred days. The crash of waves on the beach; the cold, salty water that fills your nose and stings your eyes and tangles your hair … More Two Hundred Days

Innsbruck

What has roots as nobody sees, Is taller than trees, Up, up it goes, And yet never grows? Gollum in ‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R.Tolkien They are still there. They are always there. Only when the clouds come down are they temporarily lost from sight, and you could be forgiven for thinking that Innsbruck is just … More Innsbruck

Only a game

The child looks up at me, wide-eyed. Never before have I considered myself to be quite so terrifying, but now I find I have to do my best to counter-act this rather unwelcome character trait: I crouch down, take off my sunglasses and introduce myself. ‘What’s your name?’ I ask. A small, somewhat muffled voice … More Only a game

Home?

Are you looking forward to going home? I can’t count the number of times I was asked this question before leaving Russia, and every time I wondered whether to give the easy, non-committal answer or to explain the whole story. I inevitably encountered surprise when I said that I wasn’t going home for another seven … More Home?

Christmas!

No stocking. No tree with tinsel. No roast dinner. Is this really Christmas? Not as I knew it, perhaps. Christmas was beautiful in Tomsk. Ice-skating on a lake at night, Christmas trees on every square (or rather, New Year’s trees – a relic of Soviet times when religion was forbidden), hoards of ice sculptures. Walking … More Christmas!

One Hundred Days

It’s over. I have returned west. One hundred days in Russia comes hand in hand with one hundred stories to tell; and yet no hundred thousand words could do justice to the country and its people. Still, I would like to give you one more snapshot of Siberia, before we travel together through Moscow to … More One Hundred Days