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Deep into Siberia

7 Jul

Christine and I spent the last 56 hours rumbling across the vastness of Siberia. We hopped on a train in Yekaterinburg and watched as the rocky, uneven foothills of the Ural Mountains smoothed into the ironed flatlands passing Omsk, and later Novosibirsk. Beyond that and on towards Krasnoyarsk, the flatlands rippled again into hills, this time covered in lavender-pink flowers and Aspen trees. Last night we peered from a dirty train window as the sun set into a short, modest veil of night behind which the landscape continued to change.


Most of the night was spent with our darling, travel-collision friend, Charlotte, discussing life, love, traveling, and music. Having left her home in London, she is braving the road to Mongolia on her own to realize, among many goals, the dream of spending her 25th birthday in a yurt. The night before, the three of us went on a high-speed photo adventure around the Novosibirsk station during our brief stop their. Here are some of our finds.

Novosibirsk train station along the famed Trans-Siberian Railroad. 1am perhaps.


Novosibirsk - I couldn't help but love this train conductor, standing in the cabin reading a book. It may have been a manual or checklist of some sort, but he was reading for a quite a while, waiting. I like to think it was a novel.


Novosibirsk- I was meandering back to my car when I spotted this girl in the train car window. She looked so lonesome, pensive, and longing. At first I was afraid to lift my camera, thinking that she would see me and move. But I did, and she stayed deeply buried in her own thoughts.



The night’s conversation left me restless and unable to sleep. And so I stayed perched by a window waiting for sunrise. It was a good decision. My first Siberian sunrise was a spectacular experience, incapable of being neatly trapped within the constraints of a photo despite my best efforts. During the night, the lavender-pink flowers mostly faded away into denser Aspens and pines, and deeper green grasses that crowded out the villages into more sparsely occurring grey and blue wooden clusters. A quiet gentleman named Ivan, whom I had almost-wordlessly met and befriended earlier the day before over some photographs, woke and joined me for a while. He was the only other stirring soul in the wagon. Through the noise of the open window, he spoke slow,  soft Russian. “You didn’t sleep.” Not really a question. “No. I couldn’t.”  I didn’t try to explain why, but he looked at me and seemed to understand. “This is a big country,” he said a few moments later, in his slow, pensive way that made me think he knew everything and meant more. A few more spaced words were exchanged as we both gazed at the fluid, painting scenery before he disappeared again. We both gazed with different eyes. Mine from an extended night, his from an early morning. Mine with excitement and naivety, wrapped in the unknown. His with experience and the familiarity. Sometimes good company is very simple.

Maybe 3 hours West of Irkutsk. One attempt at capturing the uncapturable.


A train with a different opinion, heading West.

Pictures. Words. Memories. All have their limitations.


The two days before leaving Yekaterinburg were spent again in Krasnouralsk with our dear new friend Vasiliy. It was a good weekend to be elaborated on later.

Until next time, dear friends!