Travel Journal

Kungur and Yekaterinburg (Russia)

(Wednesday 27 June 2007) by Lynda
Arrived last night in Yekaterinburg after a very very long day. The original plan was to make a day trip to Kungur, go back to Perm and travel the next day to Yekaterinburg. But when I found out that Kungur was almost halfway I decided to check out, take the train to Kungur and stay for the night. I met a british couple on the train also heading for the ice cave. We arrived in Kungur, again without a map and this time even without directions how to get to the ice cave. With some luck and a lot of walking (really my pack is way too heavy!!) we found the ice cave and the adjacent Stalagmit hotel. We did the tour to the ice cave unfortunately only available in russian. It was really amazing, after entering the door to the cave, the temperature dropped immediately to -2 celsius. We saw some really amazing ice crystals and frozen pillars of ice. The floor, the ceiling, really everything covered with a small layer of ice and snow crystals, so beautiful.

Ice cave Kungur
Ice cave Kungur
Too bad we didn't have a clue what the guide was talking about, he made an effort to translate some words in english but not enough for us to understand how it's possible that this cave is completely different from the other caves I've seen so far and why the lakes inside the cave don't freeze. The ice cave is also unique because it was the first russian official tourist place (1914).

After the tour the british couple went back to Perm and I had a quick dinner and a beer and went to bed, again a dilapidated room. Only to be woken in the middle of the night by very hard knocking. I woke up and thought they knocked on the wrong door because a big group of hot air ballooners where staying in the hotel and I knew they would start very early in the morning. But then more knocking and it wasn't at the door but at the window..... someone was standing on my balcony, smoking a cigarette....... and my room was on the 4th floor????? I started yelling in english and he shrugged his shoulders and climbed to the neighboring balcony and started knocking on their window. It took me some time to get back to sleep. The next morning I just wanted to get out of the place, when I walked to the bus stop I checked the back of the hotel but I still don't have a clue how he managed to get on my balcony, weird place!!!

At the railway station I found out (with some help from a friendly young man) that on odd days there's only two trains to Yekaterinburg instead of 4 on even days. Bad luck so I waited for 6 hours in the station, without money (ATM didn't work and the bank didn't want to change dollars to rubles), really the longest day on my trip so far! Finally the train arrived, with delay this time due to the heavy rainfall and it took us 5,5 hours to get to Yekaterinburg. I went to the hotel opposite the station and booked a decent room, definitely over budget but I think I'm getting a bit too old for the real backpackers experience; no more weird man on balconies or dilapidated rooms without locks for me! And for the first time this week: I slept like a baby!

I'll take the night train to Irkutsk tomorrow night and I'll travel for 3 days in a row, glad that I booked a coupe (2nd class), I had a platskartny (3rd class) yesterday (36 open beds in the carriage), it's ok for short trips but for longer trips I like more privacy.

So finally I'm in Asia, really funny but I really smells like Asia!!!!

  • Lekker slapen by Inge
  • Middle of nowhere? by Paula
  • Baron by Brooks
  • Ice Cave of Kungur by Elizabeth Hurley

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