We arrived at our first stop in Asia completely exhausted. If you're over 5'8, you can forget about getting any decent sleep on the 3rd class russian carriage (Rule Book on How to Ride the Trans-Siberian Railway is soon to follow-stay tuned!). And let's not fail to mention Knig, a burly fellow with purple slippers who chose to chew our ears off declaring that a new Ghengis Khan would emerge from China to devastate Russia and Europe within the next 20 years. He was sober.
This is the town where the Romanovs were murdered and although the original building was destroyed (on Yeltsin's orders), they have since built "The Church of the Blood" on the site.
Religion is back in a big way. New churches are everywhere (because Stalin blew most of them up) and the Romanovs are now all saints. Even Putin is kissing religious icons on public TV. Meanwhile, Russian soviet past still seems to be celebrated (Lenin's monument proudly stands in city centres and buildings and street names claim his name). It's all very confusing.
Yekaterinburg is a fairly ugly town; a concrete mess of old and new. And between the grand new monuments celebrating pre-soviet Tsarist achievements and the old decaying soviet ones, we're left to believe the whole thing is full of crap.
On the plus side, our hotel was pretty good and offered a sweeping sunset view of the Russian industry complex.
Zhenia found an old childhood favorite...pitushok lollipop made of maple syrup.
We discovered an enormous 720 kg crystal in the Ural Geological Museum.
And if you were in any doubt-yes. that's right, the Peruvians are here too.