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Somewhere between Irkutsk and Olkhon

This week (this article was first published on July 14, 2011 at unrealadventure.com) we are based in Irkutsk. Or Иркутск as it would be written in the local Cyrillic alphabet. As I write, John, Kirill and I are on a bus from Irkutsk to Olkhon island where we will stay a few days.

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The Siberian country side is beautiful. When I learned in year 12 history that this is where political dissidents were sent I assumed this to be a harsh and unforgiving place. 19th century Londoners maybe assumed the same thing of the Swan River Colony.

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Still I have yet to see this place in the dead of winter. It is extraordinary to imagine that in a few months time, where now I see green pastures as far as the eye can see, will be nothing but ice.

Ice! On the ground! Everywhere! For a boy who has lived only in Perth and for a short while in tropical Malaysia it is hard to fathom. Plainly the difference in the seasons here is pronounced. At night time it doesn't get dark until 11pm. In winter I presume it must be dark already by the time I'm thinking about getting out of bed. Although if it's going to be minus 30 outdoors I would probably skip waking up altogether.

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But thats winter and this is the Siberian summer. Fluffy white clouds hang in the blue sky and drag well defined shadows across the endless rolling green hills and the backs of grazing cattle tended to by men on horseback. Not to harp on about it, but I can't get my head around what this place must look like in January. Where do the cows go? How do people live through that kind of cold?

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This page contains a single entry by Ryan Albrey published on June 21, 2012 1:52 AM.

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