The attitude to hitchhiking is rather controversial. Some believe that’s the interesting way of travel, others see the simple will not to spend one’s money. So, who’s the hitch-hiker? A freeloader or an adventure lover?
I know lots of people who prefers the hitch-hiking despite they have enough money for travel. At the moment of my trip I had enough money to get to Altai by train. But would it be interesting? It’s much more fascinating hitching, soaking in the rain, being exposed to mosquito attacks and doing other silly things. It seems to me the point is in an adventure.
So, we’ve visited Kazan in the last part and now our way lies through the Novosibirsk – the capital of Siberia.
We’ve rushed the Urals with about 150-160km\h (as our driver was a little bit in a hurry)
It’s worth to mention an amazing city – Omsk which is memorable for me for two things: the overnight on the pets’ graveyard and awful roads. We’d conquered them on minibus (it felt like we’d galloped on horsebacks there).
A small lyrical digression – many believe that the most interesting part of hitch-hiking is company and conversations with drivers. I can agree with this partly. It’s necessary to understand that conversations are repeating over and over again. And it’s over and over when me spoke about the goal of my travel, how much I’d passed already and so on. The conversation topics are rather of the same type and it’s rather hard to get someone talk about deep and interesting themes.
Tens of drivers picked us up but the most memorable was “E”.
E is a trucker. True to type chorelick and extrovert which’s not common among the profession. That’s the reason he’s picking up hikers – it’s joyful and much more interesting to ride this way, when you are not alone. E told dozens of different stories about his life, yelling at other drivers to the radio station and waving hands same time which made me a little bit nervous. E was opened to speak about almost every theme – about prison, his mistresses and fightings, about Russia and music he’s been touched by. The amazing was the incongruous things are combined in him – mildness and aggression. His shouted at other driver with hatred 5 minutes before and then he treated us with home food.
En route to Novosibirsk another meeting was memorable for me. That was the trucker by origin from Kalmykia. The Kalmykia republic is traditionally Buddhist. There are a number of national holidays and unique traditions there. Unfortunately the same as in Karelia the traditions are forgotten, the language is becoming blurred and people start to live according to normal
Russian customs which assumed to have the strong surreal character. We were riding in the night in the vast expanses of Siberian northwestern plains where he naturally saved us from mosquito hordes and picked us up. And yes-yes, indeed! The harsh Karelian mosquitos are pretty and naive myth . The most severe mosquitos are exactly in Sybiria.
And here we’re rushing through void pitch darkness and only broken track around us. No oncoming cars, nor lights or villages. Hundreds kilometres of total darkness. He told us stories about attending Ivolginsky Datsan (which’s near Ulan-ude). The ambience and nonsense of the situation reminds me the part of postmodernist novel. However the the reality reminds itself on the specifically bad part of route I’ve been throwing from side to side and I rejected an idea the sanctity of the moment.
Our next stop is Novosibirsk – the city which made indelible impression on me for the couple of reasons. Many believe, that Novosibirsk is a young city, but it was founded in 1903. It means that’s more than one hundred years already. Novosibirsk considered to be the capital of Siberia as the million population city.
The most thing I was impressed by is the an enormously wide range of city’s architecture style: huge buildings, impressively wide streets, squares size of a football field.
In addition, there are lots of social advertising in the city. I didn’t find out what’s the reason of it. Whether the Syberian people do not hurry in starting a family, either they made this too active and after are inadequate in their behaviour.
Hordes of midges flying in the hearth of the city was the third memorable thing for me. Locals neglected the fact, but we got the hump.
Fourth, it is a real heat in Novosibirsk. As local says: “We have winter in winter and summer in summer”. It is not a simple tasks to adapt the climate as got used to Karelian -10°C and humidity near 97 percents.
Novosibirsk is being actively built: there are plenty of futuristic malls, old soviet monuments and incredibly huge bridges
Frankly, it’s rather empty on city’s hall of fame
But our goal was further beyond Sybirian
mind. We would most like to see the Gorniy Altai republic. We’ll continue about this in the next part of my story.