Sunday 30/07 – Tobolsk
We arrived at Tobolsk station at 8:30am. We went directly from the train station to get a breakfast (pancakes and pelmeni) in a café inside the Kremlin.
We then went to the Abalak Monastery, 25 km from the city (by minibus with a driver, a guide and an interpreter!). But under the rain, the place, dominating the Irtysh river, looks a bit gloomy… There’s a service going on (it’s Sunday).
We went to our hotel; rather basic, with an icy (as usual, I’m sorry to say) “welcome”. We stayed there for a few hours since it was heavily raining. The 5 of us “squatted” the lobby where the internet connection was good.
Lunch: salads in a kitschy gingerbread castle.
Visit of the Deputy’s Palace (home of the history museum) where the Romanovs quickly stayed before their final exile to Yekaterinburg. It also includes an exhibition of one of the city’s heroes, the chemist Dimitri Mendeleyev.
Then walk inside and around the splendid white golden-domed Kremlin, perched on a hill. For me, it’s even nicer than the one in Souzdal. The large Cathedral of St Sophia is beautiful.
For diner, we couldn’t have found a more depressing place than the restaurant of our hotel (see picture). Even the music contributed to the glaucous atmosphere…
I eventually started the first book from the 7 I took (and carry!) with me: ‘Petit traité sur l’immensité du monde’, by Sylvain Tesson, while Isabelle was reading Anna Karenina (Tolstoy). It’s a short essay focusing on the unspoken aspects of travel, addressing the effects, influences and impressions caused through travel rather than the places that are encountered. Interesting to (try to) unplug…