We arrived around lunchtime in Krasnoyarsk and after pickup from the train we headed to the SibTourGuide hostel and had some lunch in a nearby café which even had flat whites – even it if did take 20 minutes to get them! Our guide Anatoliy brought ourselves and two other guys, Ed from London and Marlin from Holland out to the Stolby nature reserve where various large stone boulders had spawned a sub-culture of free climbers who come to test their skills.
We hiked up to lookouts around 500m giving sunny panoramic views of the city. We also did some basic climbing and eventually got to the top of a chair-lift which is used in the winter for the slopes they have open in the winter. Heading out to stretch legs and take in fresh mountain air was particularly welcome after our longest train ride!
Tim managed to find a local Ukrainian place for dinner. It was what could be only described as a theme park decoration of what looked like Ukrainian stereotypes – with singing waitresses. Not deterred, the chicken Kiev was ordered and it was delicious! Not so much the rock hard baking apparatus it was displayed in.
The fact that we were in Siberia began to hit afterwards when we went to walk around the city which was getting decidedly chilly, after seeing Lenin again in the main square along with all the teenagers in their cars we headed back to warmth at the hostel.
Krasnoyarsk 10 Rouble Tour
Given we had an evening tour we decided to fit in the ’10 Rouble’ tour along with another hostel guest, Ed, which covers some of the famous sights of the Krasnoyarsk region.
This region stretches all the way to the Arctic sea and is 5 times the size of France. We started off from the Chapel of St Paraksevi where the Russians would keep watch out for attackers from the East during the early days of settlement, they also fire a cannon at noon every day (blanks as the cannon targets City Hall!).
From here we got a panoramic view over the what is quite an industrial city – after the Germans invaded the then Soviet Union in ’41 the Soviets literally disassembled factories in European Russia, put them wholesale on trains and reassembled them East of the Urals and out of reach of the Germans where they could pump out steel, tanks, planes and military equipment for the war effort. Krasnoyarsk was one such place which boomed in size and population as a result.
The enormous Yenisei river snakes through the city and north all the way to the Arctic and is already a mile wide with thousands of kilometres to go. Apparently the 5th longest in the world it definitely won the prize of the longest river I’d never heard of!
After stopping by the WW2 memorial we headed on to see the Krasnoyarsk Hydroelectric Dam. It was one of the most powerful dams in the world and is unique in that to facilitate boat traffic it has a boat lift. This for all the world is like a 50m swimming pool on rollers which boats drive into and then get lifted up wholesale with the water they sit in, swivelled on a turntable and then deposited on the other side of the dam. The scale was difficult to comprehend until you see the full lift in real life.
Not every day do you get to poke around a Hydroelectric dam but after we headed back with a few minutes to rest before heading on to catch our next train to Irkutsk!