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Author Topic: Volga road trip: Silver Bears  (Read 4706 times)

Offline tigershark

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Volga road trip: Silver Bears
« on: February 10, 2008, 02:55:41 PM »
Volga road trip: Silver Bears

  The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes is travelling in a Volga car along the Volga river to take a snapshot of life in Vladimir Putin's Russia, as the presidential election looms. This is his fifth piece, from the city of Saratov.

If you've never been to Russia in deepest winter then your impression may be of a land of endless cold and darkness. And indeed it can sometimes feel like that. But not today.   Today was wintertime Russia at its very best. I woke to crystal-clear skies and dazzling sunshine. On days like this Russia can look spectacularly beautiful. With the mercury down around minus 12C the countryside is transformed into a fairyland of ice and snow.    The freeze-dried birch trees stand out against the flawless sky like giant candyfloss.   The green pine trees look for all the world like they've been covered with large dollops of icing sugar. The snow under foot is deliciously hard and crunchy.   The city of Saratov is another unexpected surprise. Russian cities are, as a rule, unrelentingly horrible. The few historic neighbourhoods that weren't erased by Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev are now being bulldozed by property developers.    But so far Saratov has escaped the ravages of communism and capitalism. Charming streets of Tsarist-era buildings line the west bank of Volga.   Down on the waterfront I found an excellent German restaurant with real German beer and sausage!   The Volga here is almost five kilometres (three miles) wide, and at this time of year covered in a metre of ice. The locals even take their cars out for a spin on it!
Silver Bears
But my real object in coming to Saratov is not to enjoy the winter weather, it is to track down a group of Russian Bears. Not the four-legged, furry type.

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Re: Volga road trip: Silver Bears
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2008, 12:16:11 PM »
Cool, I thought, but no, there's not a single piece of useful information in that report.
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