Friday, May 30, 2014

Ulyanovsk, Russia, morning

Another good night’s sleep in Barcelona Hotel.  Awake, meditate, exercise, shower.  Barrett has begun her exercises, is talking on iPhone.  I leave quietly.  It’s 7 am. The hotel is sleepy.  I walk the streets of Ulyanovsk, noting in passing no women wearing 4 inch heels this early.  I take a picture of a black and white bird, almost a racoon mask face.  I’ve not seen one before. I like a gymnast plaque I find on a wall. Takes me back to early days doing gymnastics at the YMCA, watching world competitions.
The news last night was of Ukraine monitors missing, the stoning honour killing of a pregnant married woman in Pakistan, gang rape of women in India, the missing girls kidnapped by the African moslems.  Google’s robot car is being tested on streets.  BBC World News in English.
There are more bronze statues here. I can’t read who they are too. A woman sitting.  I think the first man I come across was a local writer.  I’ve read about him.  Not Lenin but still. local boy did good.  Some of the statues are clearly  for tourists.  I take pictures of wooden houses.  For now a camera is a joy but one day I’d rather a sketchpad.  The television has a war movies on now.  I’ve returned and had breakfast down stairs.  Omelette, blinz pancakes, sausages, lox, yogurt, coffee and orange juice.  Barrett is now talking on phone to family here.  She is planning day of museums, a ensuring we get to the train station for this evening. 36 hours to Moscow.

Lenin's Home Tour, Ulyanovsk, Russia

The tour of Lenin’s childhood home was a highlight.  The guide spoke Russian but Barrett translated for me.  Barrett and I liked the the Lenin family had played croquet.  I liked the samovar attached to the stove.Barrett loved the piano.  It was just a perfect tour with a delightful woman so enthusiastic about the Soviet era and so knowledgeable about this famous Ulyanov family. The house itself was located on a street of wooden houses, many of them restored and used as museums for art and music of the area as well as matters related to Lenin. it was all historically so very interesting.

Volga River Boat Cruise, Ulyanovsk, Russia

I don’t know why but I learned the Volga Boatmen song as a child. I think it was because the music was simple for early instrument learning. But the Volga Boatmen were ingrained in my brain. What a rush to be here in Ulyanovsk.  Barrett and I had toured the Lenin Centre in town and met with her friend, Victor.  First he took us for great shiskabob. Then we arrived an hour early for the boat tour so got to walk about looking at boats. I found a steel hulled sailing ship quite similar to mine. Missed my sailboat and looked forward to sailing again soon.  We were joined with a group of children and more of the 4 inch heel wearing Russian model women.  I had a great time on the boat. The bridge built first at the turn of the century is quite the accomplishment. The width of the river here is a product of damming upstream for power. When the cruise ended, I walked down the bank and plunged my hand in the water cupped some in my hand and sipped it’s cool sweet taste.  Marvellous.  This huge river is the Mississippi of Russia. IMG 5071DSCN2028DSCN2029DSCN2031DSCN2033DSCN2034DSCN2036DSCN2040DSCN2039DSCN2043DSCN2047DSCN2051DSCN2053DSCN2056DSCN2058DSCN2059DSCN2069DSCN2075DSCN2076DSCN2078DSCN2082