FYI…I’m still behind by one day with blog posts and I doubt tonight will be the night that I catch up. So yesterday afternoon was our arrival in Syktyvkar, which is North East of Moscow and a 26 hour train ride away.
The second I stepped off the bus it was love at first sight with my host family, which consisted of my host mother Elena and her daughter Marry. They made a sign for me! How cute, right? It said “Angie welcome to Syktyvkar”. And I must say that I’ve experienced nothing but the best hospitality with them. I’m so amazed at the warmth they greeted me with. The picture above is with Mary. Professor Mahon is supposed to send me the picture he took of all three of us at the train station but he’s yet to do that….slacker…just kidding…kind of!
From the train station they took me to their flat where they showed me around, gave me a pair of pink slippers to use to walk around the house with (I REALLY love them…I LOVE pink!), and fed me ALOT! Elena is your typical mother and loves to feed her daughter Mary and I. I was so full after eating at their house. I was received with Russian champaign, caviar with bread (and I did indeed try it…I was pretty proud of myself for that one), beef stew with potatoes, pea soup, ham & pea salad, and chocolate cake. I was stuffed! And everything was so yummy! It was really nice to have a home cooked meal after eating very little/poorly on the train.
After we ate, they took me on a walking tour of their city and showed me many of the war memorials. Here is Elena and I at one of the fountains:
I like Mary’s expression in this photo…it’s so cute! Shortly after we took these pictures we were of to visit Elena’s mother who lives just around the corner. This was my favorite experience from my first day in Syktyvkar. She’s such a cute old lady who reminds me of my grandmother. She speaks no english, hugged me immediately upon meeting me, and served us traditional tea. She made a strong tea in the teapot then brought in a pot of boiling water to have us mix it with. We had learned about this during a museum visit in Moscow so it was really neat experiencing it. I also got to meet her dog Laska, who was a stray that she brought in from the street.
Afterwards, we made our way to a cafe in town where some of my colleagues were just leaving. The cafe was on the top of a very tall building so when we arrived, Mary took some time to show me around and point things our to me. It was a gorgeous view and I wish I had taken pictures. But here’s a picture of my dessert instead:
Mmmmmm….dessert! I was soooo full but I still had to finish it. It was some sort of cherry filled cheesecake with chocolate sauce. Very delicious.
After the cafe we made our way home and settled in for the night. We showed each other many pictures, learned about each others family, and bonded before packing it in to bed. It was a light, relaxing day and I enjoyed it very much. I also enjoyed meeting my host family and I am very thankful for their kindness, warmth and generosity. I can’t deny that I was nervous about meeting them and living with strangers for a few days, but I can already tell this is going to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It’s a short post, but a tired post. My apologies. Until we meet again…Russian traveler signing out.