Arriving back in Krasnoyarsk from our hiking adventures at Stolby Nature Reserve, we got off the bus at the Opera House just before 6pm, arriving at exactly the right time for the daily musical fountain show. And we liked it so much more than the one in Xian. Sure, the Xian show was fancier with coloured lights and stuff, but this one was far more enjoyable. As spouts of water leapt from fountain to fountain, dancing to classical Russian music as well as modern film theme songs, little kids ran about and splashed in the water and had an absolute ball with no power-tripping teenage cops with eardrum-bursting whistles to ruin their fun.
Once it finished, we decided to walk back to the hostel. Almost at the corner I spotted some street art featuring Heath Ledger as the Joker, and stopped to take a photo. This may, quite literally, have saved our lives. Or, at the very least, saved us from broken bones.
See, just as we were about to step on a particular piece of the sidewalk, it collapsed. Right where we were about to place our feet. The pavement just sunk, like it was melting, and then bricks started falling in. The footpath just opened up – the jaws of death, a hungry mouth wanting to swallow us whole.
It was a bit of a shock. We jumped back. We tried to look down. On the far side it wasn’t so bad, maybe a metre deep. The side closest to us, however…below the pavement it was just a deep, dark hole about three or four metres deep.
We walked very carefully after that, worrying that there was another section of the sidewalk just awaiting its chance. Maybe it was like in Final Destination one through to forty-seven [or whatever they’re up to now], and now the world was going to be out to get us. Who knows? We stayed along the edges, just to be safe. You can’t be too careful when footpaths try to eat you. Heath Ledger, from beyond the grave you may have saved our lives. I should be reporting this to the Vatican as a miracle. Start the whole beatification process.
It was certainly a good story to share once we got back to the hostel. No one believed us at first but the photos got a reaction. Russia’s a more dangerous place than we thought, but it’s not the people we need to worry about apparently!
The next morning, we headed back to Bobovry Log, as we’d spotted a giant toboggan ride and John was very keen to go back and test it out. And so the next morning we were back on a local bus and heading out to the resort. Most of it seemed fairly shut down but we found an open ticket office and bought our tickets for the Rodelbahn – which came with a rather extensive form with which to sign all our rights away should we crash terribly and decapitate ourselves or so forth. We made our way to the ride, where the guy who explained how to operate the toboggan and strapped us in couldn’t tell us enough how much he hates Russia and couldn’t imagine why we’d be crazy enough to visit.
We each took our own sled, with John in front, and started being towed up the mountain. The views heading up were lovely, but once at the top it was time for some fun. John, having longer arms than me, was at least able to push the acceleration levers all the way down; I wasn’t able to which limited my speed a bit more unfortunately. Still, it felt like I was going pretty fast around some of the bends! It was great run speeding down the mountain, twisting and turning and hoping I wouldn’t manage to fly out gracelessly and crash into a tree. It was too expensive for a second round though, and we hopped back on a bus to Krasnoyarsk.
At least we thought it was going to Krasnoyarsk – it turned out it was going the other way [there’s only one bus stop] to a little village ten minutes further on. On the bus we met a lovely old man who, in contrast with the rodelbahn operator, absolutely loved his village and his country and was incredibly excited to meet two people from the other side of the world. He had once been an English teacher and spoke quite good English. We chatted with him until the village, where he headed home and we hopped on a bus going back to Krasnoyarsk.
Being a Monday, all the museums were closed and so there was very little to do in regards to ‘sightseeing’. We had a delicious and super-cheap lunch at a pelmeni bar in an office building before heading out to explore the town.
The weather was miserable and rain threatening any minute, but it held off long enough for us to walk to their central park where the obligatory Lenin statue stood opposite the entrance. Inside the park was a run-down but operating carnival, clearly for kids as we wouldn’t have fit on any of the rides. They did, however, have a ferris wheel.
I’d wanted to walk up to the chapel on the hill that’s featured on the 10 ruble note to get a good view of the city, however the weather turned us off. The ferris wheel was my opportunity! And so we bought our tickets and hopped into a little car. It had been at least fifteen years since I’d been on a ferris wheel, and I dare say they haven’t become any more exciting in that time. But the view as we rose up above the trees and above the city was beautiful! A bird’s eye view for about $3 and no physical effort? It was well worth it!
And then the rain arrived. We headed to the English Language Cafe, where we’d left our bags for the day, and spent the evening there waiting for the time to come to head to the train station – a rather pretty train station too.
Next stop, Tomsk!