Siberia, here I am! 

13920857_10210473819548184_7670395924289235877_nHello everyone!

My name is Federica and I am the new EVS volunteer. I am from Valenza Po, a small town in Piedmont, in the North of Italy. Valenza is an international goldsmith centre, specialized in jewellery production, cradle of the secular handcraft tradition

I studied Foreign Languages at the University of Pavia, a town in Lombardy, not so far from Milan. I am specialized in English, French and Russian. Continue reading

Redefining “Siberia”: A Weekend in Novosibirsk

Ново1This time last year I was working at a summer school in Germany with several international colleagues and students from the USA and different European countries. I remember that as we were getting to know each other at the beginning of the summer, we started throwing a plastic globe around the room and pointing out our homes, universities, dream travel destinations. One friend from America pointed at Russia, made a sweeping gesture across the huge space on the globe and said:

“Did you know, that to the east of Moscow there’s just… nothing?Continue reading

New year on Lake Baikal

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What better way to celebrate the New Year in a place as mythical as Lake Baikal? A group of friends from Krasnoyarsk, St. Petersburg or Tomsk have done it, and I was with them! The journey started at Krasnoyarsk station, where a good part of the group met at around 2 pm. 2 pm, Krasnoyarsk time: in Russia, the time shown on the tickets and on the station clock is that of Moscow. Thirty minutes later, the train departed for twenty hours of travel through the plateaus and forests of Siberia. In Irkutsk, the journey was not over. We still had four hours traveling by minibus to reach the lodging where we would stay for a few days. We did not wait to use the guitar: in the minibus, we started to sing French and Russian songs. For the rest of the stay, the songs were never ever far away.

Cars on the lake Continue reading

Going to the East… The Transsiberian, Ulan Ude and the Buryats

P1180767It is always quite an experience to go on board of the transiberian! People can chose between several options: Spalny Vagon (1st class), Kupé (2nd class) or Platskartny (3rd class).  Platskartny is a quite interesting choice to make if you want to travel in a “Russian way”. Besides the fact that it’s cheaper, you will share your wagon with about 50 other people and will probably get offered some food, be asked some questions about where you are from and what you do here, be asked to play some Russian card games… Sits can be used as bed or as a sofa. Usually people who have the lower sit allow the people with the upper one to sit down with them don’t want to lie down. In the train, you will always be given some sheets to make your bed and a towel, and so even if you travel only for 4 hours! Spending a night in the Platskartny might sometimes be challenging, especially when you want to walk along the wagon in the path – to go to the restroom for example – as the bed are quite little and often people’s feet, arms, heads go out and you have then to try to avoid them!

Continue reading