๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ The Adventure in Nowhere begins – Welcome to Sibiria

Siberiaโ€ฆ this word promises cold and distance. But what do we know about it? Nothing, and yet this area represents a huge part of our planet.

Only with a stop in Moskow to the other side of the continent

Diary Entry

After a ten-hour flight over pure land mass, we reach the city of Yakutsk. It is noteworthy that this unknown Yakutia, the Republic of Sakha, a part of Sibiria, is larger than India and has fewer inhabitants than Cologne. The city is the size of Freiburg in Germany and the coldest metropolis in the world – but it welcomes us with T-shirt weather.

The airport is tiny and after leaving the building we can’t find a taxi to take us downtown. We have arranged to meet our hostess for lunch and things are getting tight.

Small junky box-shaped buses give us one last hope, but of course there is no form of display that could help you see where each bus is going. I try the first best driver and ask “ะทะตะฝั‚ั€?”. After an irritated “ะดะฐ” we jump in. There are only ten seats and we stand. When we get the impression that we are central enough, we jump out again. Payment works when you leave the bus by giving the driver a couple of rubles. With our big money, of course, he is totally overwhelmed.

My friend Uli and I want to explore for ourselves what there is to see here and venture far out into this vast emptiness. This land mass is far larger than all of Europe and yet there is nothing here. Nothing that we know of. Few cities. Few places. Few streets. A lot of inaccessible nature.

We have a kayak in our luggage with which we want to paddle through the wilderness to the Lena River. But when you’re dealing with nature, you can’t plan everything in advance and just hope to be prepared for everything. And then things turn out differently than you think.

We no longer meet our host Lyoba on time, who is waiting for us under the Lenin monument like in a Soviet propaganda film. The single mother greets us warmly and helps us find something to eat and Russian maps for our phone. 20GB for just โ‚ฌ5 a month is what we dream about in Germany.

She lives in a not-so-pretty block building, which is typical of Yakutsk and most Russian cities and surprisingly often has water supply failures. She has a young son named Marsel. We are your first guests via Couchsurfing.

Yacutia is larger than India and has less inhabitants than the City of Cologne

Yakutsk’s sights: pioneer forts, Lenin and ice

Lyoba guides us through the city’s sights. There are some wooden forts, similar to those in the New World of North America, that also date back to a pioneering era before socialism struck.

Particularly beautiful is a cave that has temperatures below zero all year round and allows visitors to immerse themselves in a world of ice. In winter it is โ€œwarmerโ€ in here than outside.

This is kept at an icy temperature and ice sculptures sculpted by artists and brightly colored are exhibited. The cave is not very popular, we have it all to ourselves.

Of course we also take the chance to eat “Siberian”. But my enthusiasm for the local cuisine is limited. There’s raw frozen horse liver, frozen fish that’s also raw, and fried reindeer ribs, after all.

The cranberry juice (ะผะพั€ั) and the tea brewed from grass, which are popular here, are very tasty.

Of course the vodka isn’t missing either.

We realize that we are far north. The temperatures are not warm, but it hardly gets dark at night. We also note that this is a different Russia than what we got to know last year in St. Petersburg and the North Caucasus.

People aren’t as obviously interested in us as they are in the West, where people were idolized for their German origins.

Maybe people here are just more shy. In any case, they don’t like to be photographed either. Many people tell us that they would like to live somewhere else if only they could.

We don’t see any other tourists next to us.

We leave the last port of Civilization

At the airport, people with guns are let through security while we are pulled aside for our bait fishing lead balls. For the flight to Batagay-Alyta we have to pay by weight, not by luggage.

Even our hand luggage is weighed and the scale is mercilessly wrong to our disadvantage, which is why we end up having to pay a high bill for excess baggage.

Nevertheless, this airport is still the last port of civilization. After a few days in Yakutsk we set off into the wilderness. We stocked up on enough provisions to last on our own for weeks. Rice, noodles, dried onions and bacon. Spices, oat flakes as well as egg powder, parmesan and oil. We only need water to cook. That shouldn’t be a problem north of the Arctic Circle.

Watch the video from our trip!

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