The landscape overnight had gone from its fall grren to shades of yellow and brown and most of the leaves were gone. There were light patches of heavy frost on the northeast side of the hills. Rolling fields growing into foothills. For our Alasks friends, think Matanuska Valley from Willow north and you are looking at this part of Russia.
The birch and spruce stand tall and tightly together like soldiers huddled and guarding the Siberian front. The term "we are not in Kansas anymore" seems totally appropriate. Groundwater has formed in the vast bogs and small stresms ribbon the plain. There are ponds of collected runoff everywhere.
Small wooden farmhouses dot the rolling hills with whisps of smoke curling out of chimneys; occasdionally forming into small towns. There are a lot of people out here.
Little by little our carriage awoke and we could hear giggles and chatter through the thin walls. The gas samovar at the end of the carriage heated water for tea and coffee. Noodle bowls purchased from a market the night before became breakfast.
The Ural Mountsins, the offical border between Europe and Asia are a short distsnce to the east. We are now 1/3 of the way across Russia. We have traveled 800 kms since last night.
We arrived in the city at noon and were greeted at the station by our guide, escorted by coach to our hotel, and checked in. The balance of the day was free time to explore a bit, do laundry, and get ready for the busy days of sightseeing to follow. It is now time to bring out the heavy gear. It is cold outside!!! Snow forecast for this week and we both have colds...thanks to a few who claim "aren't sick" as they hack, cough, sneeze snd spit across Siberia. Ballet for some tonight. NyQuil for Bobbie and me.