Life is an adventure. To make my journey as fulfilling as it can be I have partnered up with some experts in fitness and nutrition and hope to share some useful and practical tips with you. And trust me, this journey will not be a theoretical one. I will be right there in the thick of it. Struggles and all.
I'm back and I am glad to say that I am ALMOST over my jet-lag. I applaud my patient husband who has endured me nodding off at 8pm every night for the last 5 days. I think I am coming to the end of the jet-lag though, I was able to watch a movie last night without falling asleep and made it to bed much later than 8pm for the first time this week.
So you want to know how it went? How do I cram three weeks of wonderful experiences into a few words? Best I let some photos tell the story!
Here I am in the centre of MOSCOW! (Red Square) Loved that city, and I was glad to have someone with me, because I would have been lost within 10 minutes.
You are supposed to toss a "penny" and I gather, make a wish, but I wanted to take my "penny" home with me, so I didn't toss mine!
We walked around Moscow for a couple of hours in the cold and thankfully due to my training it was manageable. As my journey unfolded, it turned out that I did a few walks that were at least an hour long.It was in Moscow that I ate my first truly Russian meal. I think Igor will approve of my attempt to at least stick with the diet on my first meal. Well...everything except the pasty. If you have only one chance to try something ...I say go for it! There is always time to get back with the plan when you get back after you have gotten over your jet-lag.
So here I had Fish with Buckwheat...on the side a beet and fish salad....and then a small pasty to finish off with. My first RUSSIAN MEAL! All of which was delicious. Hey, I had been walking around Moscow for 3 1/2 hours, I was hungry!
It was really strange for me to be rendered illiterate! Suddenly I could not read the signs and I could not understand most of what was being said. Although on two occasions that day people just came up to me and started chatting to me in Russian assuming I could understand them, and not only that, but that I knew Moscow well enough to give them directions!
(below: Cold Fish and beet salad and cherry pastry)
(right: Fish, buckwheat and tartar sauce)
One of the most recognisable spots in Moscow is Saint Basil's Cathedral with it's colourful soft-serve like domes! I was able to go in to Christ the Savior Cathedral too but we were not allowed to take photographs at all. A pity really, because the walls were painted with the most beautiful frescos and the domes rich with "end times" depictions of the return of Christ. The art work was breathtaking.
Below: Christ the Saviour Cathedral behind me.
Christ the Saviour Catherdral - Orthodox.
One thing I have to say is that I was grateful for the few phrases I had learned from Igor. I also learned really quickly. I came home with quite a few phrases embedded in my brain and a strong desire to speak Russian more.
From here we flew to Irkutsk and then on to the remote villages without running water. From them on we ate what our gracious hosts put before us and I am thankful that my metabolism had been prepared for their generosity. If that had not been the case...I think I would have put on ten pounds.
( below: Andrew and myself after a walk!)
After some long days we went for one hour or longer walks to get some fresh air. The air was frosty!
Three of my team mates were training for the Lake Baikal Ice Marathon and so they would go out for the occasional run, but as a team we went on several long walks too. I was pleased that I was able to keep up with those fit marathoners!
Without my increased endurance and stamina a trip like this would have wiped me out. We got an average of six hours sleep a night and were busy late into the night.
Thanks to Igor, I coped and I coped well!
On a few occasions I was exceedingly grateful for the increased strength in my quads when having to use the "facilities" which were outside and in -20C temps. Let me just say, I was able to rise above the challenges!
I fell in love with Lake Baikal (Siberia) and its people. There is so much more I can say, but I think that is enough for now. More to follow. In the next blog I will post photographs of the Lake Baikal Ice Marathon.