Thursday, October 19, 2017

Day 15 - Tartarstan

Our train was entirely comfortable, four berths to a cabin, well appointed, well lit, immaculate and modern. We settled in quickly and were fast asleep in minutes. The ride was smooth, the train stopping often at various stationd to board passengers. The nine hours passed quickly. 

We woke to personal alarms at 5:30 and packed our stuff for disembarking. We had arrived in the capitol city of Kazan in the autonomous region of Tartarzan.  While we are still in the Russian Federstion, this region enjoys certain autonomous liberties seperate from Moscow. 

We were met by our guide Veronika, stored our bsgs at the hotel, enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast, and were off and running.  

We enjoyed an extended tour of this truly beautiful city. Wrapped in Tartan cultural aspects, we first walked to a vista where we were presented with a panoramic view of an extremely modern city with distictive architecture and impressive infrastructure.  1.3 million peoply occupy Kazan. Our hotel is in the city center with city hall, the opera house, and parliament a few blocks away. 

Next up we visited a newly constructed Tartan "village" of shops and restaurants, local musicblaring from   loudsoeakers while a team of gardeners groomed the autumn flower beds and trees. 

In a small wooden Tartan house from the 1700's we were treated to a food demonstration preparing "chak-chak," a lical oastry reminescent to funnel cake and rice crispie treats. The authentuc costumed presenters were charming and informative and the tea party following the demonstration was a lot of fun tasting traditional treats. 

Next up was a visit to a local mosque. There are lots of them now as we travel through the Islsmuc part of western Siberia.  Once we cross the Irals there will be plenty  more. We were asked of course to cover our heads and remove our shoes, however in this Suni facility women and men share the space. 

Lunch was at an upscale Uzbekistan restaurant. That got everyone talking about next year.  The food and decir were great. Aftetward we drive over ti the kremlin to visit the new ekabirayely decorated mosque built in 2011, the Cathedrsl if the Kady of Kazan, and the oresidents palace. 

We ended our day back at our 4^ ultra/nice hotel for a free evening of recouping energies and personal time. Ahhhhhhh!

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