27. heinä, 2016

Send Us Angels!

Send us angels!

They send a jolly wave from a distance as they walk over to greet us. We exchange hugs and although it’s the second time we meet it’s as if we’d known each other forever!

It all began with a small, friendly smile and a few words of Russian at the Titov museum in Polkovnikov village, three weeks ago. We had got there just as they’d closed and the Popov family had managed to sweet talk the guard into giving us a private tour! After some space-chat they invited us to a village party in tribute to the poet Robert Rozhdestvensky at the nearby village of Koshikinsky. Soon we were driving behind them through the forest, towards the party held in a village on the edge of a cliff.

I doubt we’d ever ended up in that place without them! It was in the middle of a forest, far from the main road and we could have easily missed out on the brilliant song and dance performances, amazing views, tasty shashlik and even an encounter with the world famous art photographer Ekaterina Rozhdestvensky.  

Now, on our way back from Mongolia, our route goes via their hometown of Barnaul once more and it’s so good to see them again! Before we know it we’re on a river-cruise sipping apple-soda and enjoying some vanilla ice cream made in Barnaul. We pop inside Barnaul’s oldest Orthodox church, Zarmenskaya, where the icon of Saint Nicolaus, the saint of all travelers, is kept. I am truly moved when our friends light a taper to say a prayer for us travelers! We walk around the town centre and take in the main sites, enjoy a meal together and have a boogie to some Sunrise Avenue that we surprisingly find on the jukebox of a local pub. We’re sad to part ways as they take us to the road that will lead us out of the town, as our journey continues on.

As we’re driving through Kazakhstan we get a surprise message saying there’s shooting and a police operation on in Almatay, it’s dangerous to go there! Our Russian friends have been vigilantly following our route plan and are looking out for us, so we don’t end up in the middle of a shooting!

Men are wolves to each other, as the saying goes. I hope we that more often, we could be angels to each other.