Yekaterinburg

If you think the name of this city is difficult to pronounce in English, try it in Russian. The name is five syllables long and in Russian the first four syllables are pronounced very rapidly with the emphasis being placed on the last syllable (at least that’s how the locals say it, although I have heard it pronounced with the emphasis on the second to last syllable, which makes it a little easier to say).

Founded at the direction of Peter the Great in the early 1700’s as a mining and industrial center, Yekaterinburg has always been a little grittier than the more refined and more European cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

An important meeting during the early days of Yekaterinburg

Russia is a truly enormous country. Unfathomably enormous. It’s nearly twice as big as the US, but has less than half of the population of the US. Three fourths of the population of Russia is in the relatively small European portion of Russia while the vast Asian portion of Russia has only 25% of the total population.

Yekaterinburg sits just over the Asia/Europe division on the Asian side. It’s the fourth largest city in Russia with a population of about a million and a half.

Yekaterinburg holds a special place in my heart because I spent two years here in the mid 90’s (just 5 years after the fall of communism) when I was a young man.

I have quite a few friends here. As funny as it may be, this is one of my favorite places to visit–just behind San Francisco–and this is my third time back since I lived here so many years ago.

When we arrived, we were met at the airport by my old friend Nicolai (Kolya for short).  He greeted Ashley with roses, the kids with chocolate, and me with a stiff slap on the back.

Kolya took a liking to Margaret (Marge as he calls her) right away and the two have been palling around ever since.

Kolya has been our driver and guide on this trip and thanks to him we’ve been able to go more places and see much more than we would if we were on our own. We’ve also been able to do it in comfort riding in his car instead of walking outside in the cold.

And it has been cold. We’ve had rain, we’ve had snow, we’ve had wind, and we’ve had a lot of unseasonable cold.

Out for a walk on a day that was much colder than it looks.
Even though Margaret was bundled, wearing two coats and thick, furry pants we bought her here, my friend Sveta was so worried about her being cold that she bought her a thick blanket to cover her in the stroller.
Our friend Gala was so worried about Ashley being cold that she bought her some warm tights to wear under her pants.

Thank goodness that things this week have started to warm back up.

There are many things we have seen and done here, and this little piece of the world holds so much nostalgia for me that I could probably fill 10 posts with details of current and past sites and experiences.

I will in fact post more in the future, but for now, here are some photos with descriptions.

A view of the city from atop a relatively new skyscraper, currently the tallest building in the region.
One of the main administrative buildings lit at night.
Eating pasta with Ashley’s world famous home made (from fresh tomatoes) tomato Alfredo sauce. Kolya and Gala joined us for Jane’s birthday dinner.
Jane’s biggest disappointment so far in life is that she can’t grow her hair out long. This is one of the things she bought with her birthday money. Thank goodness she only insisted on wearing it in public for a few days. Turns out a $1 synthetic pony tail can turn a birthday of “pickled meat” into one of the best birthdays ever.

The cold weather has kept us inside a little more than we’d like, so we’ve tried to do some fun indoor things. Jane and Nolan both did great on this wall.
Margaret does great with everything and is just as happy as this even when she’s not riding a carousel.
Although the weather has been cold and grey, the leaves have been beautiful.
Kolya and I drove to a city called Perm that is about four and a half hours away by car. Pretty darn flat, but a lot of pretty forests and fields along the way.
A few photos showing the grittier side of the city.
Horsing around on the ploshad at the city center
Enjoying a meal together at a Russian cafeteria (self serve cafe). Soup, potatoes and meat are the main fares.
A couple of good friends spending time together on a cold day in the park

2 thoughts on “Yekaterinburg

  1. I’m glad Jane enjoyed her birthday even though she was stuck in Russia for it 😂. How fun to be able to spend time in a place so special to you, and to be able to show it to your family. And it’s always great to see old friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your time in yetkarinberg was very different than mine in Moscow. I would like to go on the drive from yberg to prem

    Like

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