Travels inspired by the Wombles

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Drink up...

You might enjoy this picture of Bungo (who came with us to Tomsk, as we don't have a Tomsk companion) enjoying a drink from one of the glasses which you can borrow from the provodnitsas (carriage attendants) on the Trans-Siberian. Drink up...

Friday, 16 July 2010

(A little) fame at last

A picture of me with Anton Chekhov in Tomsk (similar but not identical to the one I posted here the other day) has made it onto the front page of a free local paper. And so has a picture of Helen in front of the Trans-Siberian. Both of us were holding copies of said local paper for the pictures - it's a little feature they've run for years to enable suckers like us to provide them with free content. Hurrah!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Anton Chekhov v. The People of Tomsk

120 years ago, Anton Chekhov was on his way to the far east of Siberia. For one reason and another, he'd had a trying journey by the time he reached Tomsk, which may have influenced his view: 'Tomsk is a very dull town. To judge from the drunkards whose acquaintance I have made, and from the intellectual people who have come to the hotel to pay their respects to me, the inhabitants are very dull too.' The locals weren't too impressed, and put up this unflattering monument (Chekhov's the one on the left).

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

To Russia with love...

In a neat reversal of Mike Batt's Bond parody To Wimbledon with Love, Bungo accompanied us to Moscow and then on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Here he is, acting as Lenin's special advisor.

What a wonderful day for going to the doors of the Kremlin...

And asking: 'Is Lenin?' (As Ken Dodd used to say.)

He is still around in Tomsk, too - as a statue on a traffic island in the north of the city, as a sort of glorified traffic policeman. There's a cathedral behind him. You can't see it in the picture, but Lenin is pointing towards a theatre which is a great example of Soviet brutalism in concrete.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Just back...

...from a tiring but entertaining trip to Tomsk, including 56 hours on the Trans-Siberian Railway. More info to come, as the jetlag wears off!