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Region: Southwest-Sibiria

How it all started?


I met Nikolai in a Youth Hostel in France where he participated in the annual 24h Fast-Walking race. Every year he comes by car all along from Kemerovo, about 5500km! He invited me to visit his home land. After a bit of hesitation I agreed, since it was about time to improve my Russian anyways.
On July 5th after a 6 hour flight Frankfurt-Novosibirsk he picked me up at the airport and we made the 4 hour long drive to Kemerovo (300km). It was warm and humid weather due to the wet soil, often in the afternoon clouds accumulate resulting in showers here and there. Of course there are also many clear and sunny days. Faster than expected I got my first sunburn. Unusual for me that it gets dark only at about 00:30. At 21:00 you can still do sun bathing, and get the impression that it is only 18:00.

The region is still without tourists, thus the contacts to people are really nice and warm. Food and drink supply is abundant, everywhere along the streets tents are placed where you can sit in the warm summer air and eat delicious meals and drink beer, all at a very low price. Brand new supermarkets (western style) are also available that offer everything including french wine. No beggars were seen, although poverty prevails. The low amount of cars are definately an indicator of it.

A few people are quite interested in caring for tourists, like guiding, trips and camping in the wilderness etc. in order to create an alternative income basis. Everyone who prefers these kind of trips will be best served. I myself will keep those great days in very good memory for a long time.

(If interested I can help to bring you in contact with them free of charge)

Distances that we are not used to

On the way to Kemerovo.

To Irkutsk "only" 1690 km !

I'm glad that I don't need to go to Chelyabinsk !!
(on the way to Novosibirsk airport)


The city of Kemerovo (500.000 people) Capital of Kemerovo Oblast

At the city limits the usual Police-Checkpoint.

(Beware of your driving speed !!)


Oh well he can't be missing ?



Nikolai lives at the 4th floor, I stayed there too.

These old houses are from the pre-Stalin time.

The new built chuch.

Theater in the background.

Oblast government, the right building used to house the KGB.

The post office at the left


Philharmony of the city.


Strolling through the City Park

The entrance.

View towards the entrance.

Today is Neptun's Day

People (incl. adults) shoot at each other with water pistols.
A filled up water plastic bottle proves to be much more efficient.


Early sunday morning, no one there yet.

Events take place here in the afternoon.

Afternoons a well made show for kids.


12. Oct 2002   Jürgen Bartels