date: 14 Sep 2014
Boris meets his equal.
When our heroes finished their night symphony on a low note, they peered out the hotel window and saw rain. After breakfast they made their way along Malisheva to 8th March Street. There they established their base at the Traveler Coffee cafe.
There they asked how they could get to Europe-Asia monument. A helpful and attentive waitress called an unknown party, possibly family or friend or mafia. Soon a driver arrived and he introduced himself as Sergei. Now here was a fellow to challenge Boris, in many ways.
Timofei described him as a pleasant fellow.
Sergei drove the duo to the line and monument marking the boundary between Europe and Asia in the Ural Mountains. The place was perhaps 20 km west of Yekaterinburg on the Siberian Highway towards Perm. The road was wet. The traffic was constant, and there were the ever present roadworks.
At the site there were numerous ribbons tied around trees, fences, any pole or bar, to mark weddings.
Asia & Europe
Each now stood in front of the monument, with legs spread across the line. Stories were told, reminiscing about the meridian at Greenwich.
(There is no coincidence that there is a shopping centre in Yekaterinburg called Grinvich)
At the conclusion of the activity, Sergei suggested all go to the site of the murder and burial of the last royal family (Nicholas and Alexandra and children). He knew it was near the village of Sredniuralsk (middle of the Urals), but also he had been to the Boris School of Navigation. He got lost!
To his credit he did stop several times to ask several old women where to go.
It seems he has the charm of Boris as well.
Eventually Sergei arrives at the destination. Timofei and Boris rushed to the toilets, only to find smelly and unsightly Asian squat units.
Thankfully they were only there to pee.
All entered the compound and found many churches commemorating all family members. Boris unwisely asked if a small building was a memorial to the family pet.
Timofei noticed that Sergei was very proud to show them around the site.
They entered a church clambering past and pushing aside old ladies on a religious pilgrimage. If a miracle were to occur they would be there first. It was a miracle that no one fell because of the darkness encountered as people entered the church.
Inside was an array of icons. Also Timofei was taken with a portrait of the royal family. It is a basic church but holds a special place in the hearts of the believers.
Upon return to the city, Boris and Timofei paid Sergei 1000 rubles for his services and entertainment. They arranged for him to meet them at the hotel in the evening, and to transport them to the vokzal.
The duo spent their remaining time in Yekaterinburg exploring the city centre. The were numerous monuments and sculptures, which they had to mimic.
There was a coffee shop in Grinvich, where a delightfully happy waitress, Maria, served their needs.
On the way back to the hotel, Timofei terrorised the wildlife in a large park, especially hunting squirrels (Tom Lehrer?
In the evening Sergei combated the traffic and made good time in getting to Yekaterinburg Passenger Vokzal. There our duo waited in a crowded sitting hall for more than an hour. And upon arrival of the train 056 Moscow to Krasnoyarsk, they made quick time to the platform 2, line 4. Wagon 3 was at the end of the train, and they were greeted by a cheerful conductor, Larisa.
Soon they were settled in their compartment for 33 hour journey.