Yekaterinburg had given me a run for my money when I searched my hotel, so now I wanted to see what the city was all about.
When it comes to revolutions, this is where they link to: in the 1917 revolution, it was the place where the Tsar and his family got brutally murdered. The Church on Blood in Honor of All Saints remembers us about the Tsar and his families end here. It also is the birthplace of notorious drinker statesman Boris Yeltsin. When he was taking control of the government, he prepared Yekaterinburg to be the capital in case Moscow would be too dangerous.
All that history is now under my nose!
Europe – Asia
Just before the train enters the station of Yekaterinburg, the train goes from Europe to Asia. In my Trans Europe and Trans Asia project, we’re at the Trans Asia part now. I read in my guide about the monument that shows the exact place (the line) where the two continents meet. I decided to see if there is a way I can get there. Maybe this is a location where a selfie would not be out of the line.
Greg the guide
I meet Greg, a young and ambitious man, who dreams of starting a tour guide business here in Yekaterinburg. He speaks more and better English than most people I met here, and he managed to let me discover some good places, including a nice coffee place and a restaurant where I had dinner my second evening.
So when I told him that I’d like to go to see the point where the continents touched me, he was so kind to take me there. So we were on our way. It was another very rainy day in Russia: I seen to have chosen the wrong season to be here? But the stories that Greg brings make it an interesting day, despite the weather.
After 45 minutes of driving, we leave the freeway into the woods, where Greg’s car is the only one on the parking place. The big pole represents the border, and either side has the name of the continent written on it. I was expecting a tourist attraction, souvenir shops, mascots. But not a desolate place in the middle of nowhere.
A conversation I like to have here is about the sentiments towards the old Soviet times. We’re 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. And while my western-indoctrinated brain was ready to hear the cheers and hurrays for the capitalist era, I met many young people who talk about the good times they imagined it was. Going from “The USA was afraid from us”, to “there was no corruption” are the arguments I hear most frequently. Curious to see what reactions I get to this question in the next places I’ll visit.
Koen Blanquart is a strategy consultant, journalist, and author.
Wanderlust is one of his driving factors, and he shares his travels here on Boarding Today. Koen is also the skipper of SV Bagabonda, a sailing vessel making a slow circumvention of the globe..
Koen recently published a book on how to manage a remote team: The Suitcase Office.