The 17 hours in the train passed so quickly! We had a relatively good 10-hour night’s sleep, we read a bit, we ate and we even managed to get the kids study! We even got a (hot) breakfast (pork with buckwheat and chicken with rice). Isabelle started reading Michel Strogoff to the kids. This book from Jules Verne is the perfect match for this part of the trip. We follow Strogoff’s itinerary. Thanks Mathieu for this recommendation!
So, all in all, a very good first long journey by train. It’s good since some longer ones (respectively 27 & 28 hours) are still to come. It should be ok for Florence, who was ready to stay in the train until Beijing…
It was also nice to rest a bit in the train. I’ve indeed walked more than 15 km per day since we left Brussels, while my daily average is usually 4.5 km (according to my iPhone)!
We arrived in Perm at 3:30pm (1:30pm Moscow time); we’ve already crossed 2 time zones!
Our big hotel (400+ rooms), in pure soviet style, is well located.
We tried to find a nice place for lunch but the 2 places recommended by our guides were closed. We had no other choice than to go to McDonald’s (right in front of our hotel). Kids were happy.
We then walked to the Museum of Contemporary Art PERMM but it had changed location. It was heavily raining so we took a taxi to the new location (5 km). The visit of the museum was very disappointing (although it was supposed to be a “cutting-edge modern art venue”). To give an idea, the most beautiful part was the ticket…
We then went back to the hotel by taxi (an old Lada Samara). Quick ice cream for the kids in a movie theatre near the hotel.
Isabelle used her portable washing machine for the first time and I wrote 2 posts for our blog.
We woke up at 8am. Quite difficult this morning (with the 2 hours that we “lost” yesterday). We have an appointment with our (French speaking) guide at 9am to go and visit Perm-36, an ex-gulag that was transformed into a museum, around 125 km from Perm.
The visit of the gulag was a unique (and informative) experience. It’s the only remaining gulag with the original buildings restored to recreate the conditions under which scores of inmates lives between 1946 and 1988 (yes, gulags were only closed in the late 80s, under Gorbachev!). The gulag-turned-museum is dedicated to Soviet political repression. It give a complete insight of the history and the daily life of the political prisoners in the labour camp.
Anna is a great guide, very knowledgeable. She explained very well Perm-36. In the minibus, we could ask all the questions we had about all subjects and we learned a lot about Russia, its history, its daily life… It was very interesting. Her contact details: Anna Dieudonné, firstname.lastname@example.org, +7 904 8483777.
On our way back, we stopped in a café for lunch. We tried the solyanka (meat soup) and some pirozhki, (fried buns stuffed with a variety of fillings such as meat, potato…). We didn’t try the pizza with mashed potatoes though…
We came back to our hotel where we relaxed for a couple of hours.
Around 6pm the sun finally appeared and we went for a walk until the Kama river before dinner (grilled meats) in a restaurant in town.