Had 10 hours sleep. Lovely.
Melon and banana for breakfast and we just about made it out the door for 11.15. Train Lag eh?
It was cold, wet and overcast, perfect day for museums so off we went to the biggest collection of art in the Urals, and it was really quite good! And as a bonus it was all in English apart from a special exhibition so that was even better. It explained a lot about Russian art through the ages and all about the metal working and semi precious stone mining that is so prevelant in this area. The only part which wasn’t explained was some 1930’s industrial Soviet Realism art exhibition which looked really interesting with a gold wedding ring in the middle engraved with something.
Then lunch which we had out at another Georgian restaurant, a bit posh but the food is sooo lovely, lots of pkhali (made out of spinach, beetroot and nuts), cheese pizza, aubergine walnut rolls, vine leaves stuffed with spicy lamb and lamb in white wine with tarragon which was one of the best things we have had, so good in fact that we forgot to photograph it until we had nearly finished it.
I would heartily recommend Georgian food as it is healthy, really tasty and full of herbs and spices that we use everyday but they are used in a way that you wouldn’t normally think of using them.
The we were off to a photography museum, Menetov House, which we knew would not be in Russian but it said it showed photographs from early 20th century Russia which should be self explanatory. We walked into he wrong room to start with, asked a woman in a shop for the Kacca (Russian for ticket office) she wearily responded it was upstairs.
On entering the exhibition there was no English but there seemed to be an exhibition of indigenous Siberian landscapes and people photos which was interesting even if we didn’t have a clue about what it was. However after about 10 minutes a young lass burst into the room, introduced herself as Sasha and in halting English started to explain the exhibition and the meanings behind some of the photos, her English seemed to get better as she went along and we got a real understanding about the 3 rooms of photographs and other slightly more surreal parts of the exhibition, eg on Yuri Gugarin who died in a plane crash near here, Gary Powers and the U2 incident (nothing to do with Bono) in the late 60’s. We also met the director of the museum who had spent time in England, London, Manchester and Liverpool so we had a chat with her. We found out that they had both been involved with the 1930’s exhibition we saw earlier in the day and explained it all to us, the centre piece being that ring, shaped like a wedding ring with industry engraved on it to symbolise the feeling in the 1930’s that everyone felt they were married to work, 5 year plans and not another person. It was a lovely couple of hours spent learning about the museum and Ekaterinburg.
Back out into the cold and darkening skies and we wandered back to our hostel picking up some pickled herring to go with our salad for tea.
We both really like this city, it is akin to being up north in England, not least in the fact it is bloody cold, but that the people seem warmer, more willing to smile and joke with each other, and us, which is a welcome change to Moscow. Interestingly enough, a couple of Russians have now said that the real Russia is not Moscow it is outside, in the smaller towns and places far from Moscow, which if true means I really like it!