The 8 of May 2012, I left France for a worldtour, with my backpack and two friends for Russia.
I had no idea about Russia, in France we don’t talk a lot about Russia. My target was to go to Mongolia with the famous transsiberian railway. Against all odds, this country surprised me for his beauty, the people I met, the kindness and hospitality of russian people.
I remember St Petersburg for his beauty, his architecture, his river and his museum called “Hermitage”, who expose an amazing collection of french impressionnist painting.
I was loving this city. There was a good atmosphere here.
I remember Moscow for his size, his excesses, his richness, for his churches with gold roofs; for his incredible collection of Porsche (this super expensive car) in the center, and for the grandmothers few kilometers further who were trying to sell few scarfs and vegetables in order to survive.
I remember this city for this big luxuary hostels in front of the ruins of sovietic buildings, for his metro all in marble, impressive, majestic and his giant escalators, an impressive underground piece of art.
I remember our hosts in Moscow, a russian couple middle class. They decided to bring us to visit the city, my english was approximate during this time, but I understood “Strike” on the conversation. My two friends and I were not really understanding our hosts, but they were saying to bring our cameras to take pictures, cause they were saying that was really interressant.
The fact to hear the word :”Strike” in the conversation was not reassuring me, and to be taken for a journalist in this country even less! We were in after election time, so I decided to not take my camera.
So we went to visit the city with our hosts, they brought us to a parc, there were few groups of people here, singing, talking. Our hosts explain they were supporting these guys, they were against the government and they just protesting peacefully against the government. Officially to make a strike was not forbidden but in case of trouble, they could have a big fine. The reason why they were doing this strike was how the election was done.
For them, there were a lot of ballot stuffing and this election wasn’t represent the voice of people.
They were explaining that the leader of this peaceful movement had strangelly disappeared…
At the end of the conversation, I asked this question to our hosts : “Do you feel free in your country?” The answer was : “Of course not!!”
They were explaining us they were not anymore seeing a futur in Russia…And they didn’t want their children growing up here… These couple was my age and not feeling free…
I realised the big chance I get to be born in France… We can express our politic views, we can make strike without risking our life, and dissappeared…
I was thinking these men was so courageous, I realised that our hosts have taken risks to bring us to this parc..
Moscow will open my eyes on the political reality of this country.
I will hear few days later that the government was thinking to ban people to gather in public areas…
I left Moscow with a real idea of a muscovite life, and to be honest that was absolutely not making me dreaming!
The transsiberian adventure was starting!!! What a memorie!!
When you do 30 hours of train with locals who are so kind and have an amazing sens of hospitality!
You finish with a shot a vodka in your hand!! And with full of foods to test!!
I remember this russian soldier who was telling us he was crossing all Russia to go back to work in his submarine!! Just a week of train!!!
I remember this man, cause after 5 minutes talking to him, so happy to have us like neighbours, he open his backpack to take a bottle of vodka!! But the vodka in Russia is not soft like Europe, and our new friend was trained!
So we try the vodka!! One shot of pur vodka and one pickle! Yes, one pickle!! Some women in the train were telling us the local technic to reduce the effect of vodka! After a shot of vodka, you eat a pickle! I was impressed cause after few shots, I was not feeling the effect of the alcohol, but the alcohol was in my blood!!
With this shot, they were offering the famous dried fish!! That’s a kind of full sardine totally dry, you can savour! Of course you can’t refuse this delicious meal!
I was smiling and thanking our neighbour, but yeah… The aspect and the smell of this fish, his eye looking at me!!! That was disgusting… I just tell them to avoid to eat it : “Sorry, I just brush my teeths, I will keep it for tomorrow!!
During this transsiberian trip, we will make a break at Tomsk and Omsk quite famous for the wooden houses, and an other stop to Ekaterinburg, where we were entering in Asia.
This crazy transsiberian adventure will end to Irkustk. We will go to the Baikal lake, in the Olkhon island. This lake is the biggest reserve of fresh water in the world, and totally frost during winter time.
I remember this island, this place, this end of the world, this lake of clouds like I used to say. A magic place, where the time has stopped, a really peaceful place.
This spectacle is amazing, this landscape, the light, the moutains, and these clouds reflecting on the lake, a real mirror of fresh water.
The colors were changing, dancing all the time. It was hard to see the horizon!
I was looking, and forgetting the time, I have the impression to be in an other world, in an other planet, to have discovered a magic and really unique place.
We were hypnotised by this place, it was hard to leave this little paradise. What a place!
Memories of Russia, intenses memories of the travel of a life.