Russian stereotypes come alive
If I had to describe my weekend with on word I’d say: Russian. I can’t possible imagine having a more Russian time than this was. All the stereotypes about Russia, you name it, I’ve experienced it during these 2 days. We rode horses, drank from the stream, went to the toilet to the forest, slept under the open sky and of course drank vodka.
We set off early in the morning – not as early as planned, but seriously does a family exist which can actually depart the time they’d discussed previously? I know my family is not like that and nor is my host family.
The next 6 hours were spent fearing for my life, as Russians drive crazy and my host dad is not an exception. There’s always someone passing another car as there is only one lane. Try to complain about Hungarian roads, wait till you come to Russia! For people here it’s perfectly normal to drive at a 150 km/h speed on a road full of potholes.
After meeting with some relatives we started our way up the mountain. My host father naively asked for the address to write it in the GPS. The answer was a long laugh, then Vanya (uncle) explained that there were no addresses where we were heading, there were only about 4 houses.
We arrived shortly, after a bumpy ride up the Altai mountains. Siberia. Nature was beautiful. Not so much the “village”. Kids riding so old bikes that even gipsies wouldn’t steal in Hungary. They were barefoot and without shirt, when I was freezing in my pullover. You could see horses and dogs walking around.
We waited a few minutes until some more relatives joined our team. It took me about a second to realize one of them was really drunk. He was the clown for the rest of the weekend that everybody made fun of.
It turned out we haven’t arrived to our final destination yet. It was rudimentary I thought. Well, it got better. We were heading to a place where cars couldn’t go. We put all our stuff in special bags that the horses carried on their back among with us. That’s right. I rode a horse first time in my life. They gave me a short tutorial what to do. They told me everything except how I make the horse stop. I could already see my death falling off the edge with my horse. However, I quickly realized that they are very clever animals. The horse just followed the one in front of it so I didn’t really have to do much apart from sitting on its back and enjoying the view. The road led through streams, forests and fields.
Soon I noticed a small cottage and I though myself: “Please God, let it not it be our final destination.” Of course, it was. What could I say, I wasn’t prepared for that. You all read my cycling trip post (if not where have you been?) and know I’m not the type of girl who needs a 5-star hotel. I like nature and adventure, but in the moment I saw that cottage I just wanted something more civilized. This thought quickly disappeared and I got entertained by the surrounding. I found it amusing, that for many Russian people it is perfectly normal to come here for a week and relax. Yeah, they call it relaxing. 😀 But what am I talking about exactly? No bathroom, which means no toilet! Ohh, sorry there was a so called “toilet” behind a tree. It was a hole in the ground. Our kitchen was the stream, where we could drink water or wash our hundred-year-old dirty plates. Shocked? There’s more. No electricity!
Yeah, normally I can’t take an hour without checking my mobile, watching TV or using the Internet. However, on these 2 days I didn’t even think about all of these things. I was in the middle of nowhere and enjoyed being so close to nature.
There really wasn’t much to do apart from drinking vodka and talking to each other. Most children would be bored in a place like that. Not Dana! She is the biggest animal lover I’ve ever met and enjoyed feeding and petting the horses and dogs all day. She even tried riding Shaman alone.
It was a nice experience to sleep on freshly cut hay. I wasn’t cold as the sleeping bags were very good. It was quite comfortable, but I didn’t sleep much as the drunk uncle yelled all night with the dogs and there was a bell in the horses’s neck, so it couldn’t escape.
The next day we set off about noon. Dana cried in the car, because she was so sad to say goodbye to the horses. She is a very sweet and special girl. The road was beautiful along the mountain and river, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open for long, and fell asleep.
I had many nice weekends here, but this experience was the most unique. Siberia is such an underrated place in Russia. I would have loved to see some bears to make it even more memorable, though one of the relatives warned me not to wish something like that, because there are many bears here, and it’s better not meeting them, because they eat people. Anyway it was a really nice weekend and I wish everyone to experience something like this one day. I’ll surely never forget about it.
Hey, I'm Enikő! I'm currently an au pair and I want to share my experiences with you. I've travelled a lot in the past years. I'm gonna teach you how to settle in to a new country and get free accommodation anywhere in the world. Circle Enikő on Google+!