Arriving in Perm

Previous page - Travelling on the Baikal train


Last few hours on the Baikal

Our third night on the Baikal and we were back to sleeping badly again. I guess we were stressed about not waking up on time. We set the alarm for 3.45 a.m. which ended up being way too early as it really didn't take long to clean up and pack up our belongings. The train arrived in Perm at 5 a.m.


Meeting Anna

Our Couch Surfing host Anna was there at the station to meet us. We must have all walked past each other up on the platform but at the same time missed each other. We caught up with her out the front of the station. We were going to take a taxi from the station to Anna's flat that she shares with her Mum.

Anna and Zorra Anna and Geora
Dennis our driver Dennis our driver

Anna said the taxis at the station would be too expensive so she phoned for one that she knew would be cheaper.

We seemed to drive a fair distance to her home but the driver only charged us 150 roubles which was excellent value.

Their home is quite lovely. Anna showed us their big settee that converts into a huge bed and looks very comfy.


She has a very large ginger male cat called Geora and he is the image of our cat, Pepper, who died two years ago. We sat down in her kitchen and enjoyed a lovely cup of tea, some yoghurt and fruit pie.


Organizing our tickets to Kazan

We were headed to Kazan after Perm but we had not booked our train tickets. Anna thought it would be a good idea to organize that before we headed off touring around Perm for the day. It turned out we couldn't get on a train from Perm to Kazan on the day we wanted, nor one day either side of the planned date. A spanner was thrown in the works.

We never imagined that we wouldn't get a seat. Apparently the train from Perm to Kazan only runs a couple of times per week. It is not a big train and the few tickets for it were already sold. What do we do? We even checked out to see if there were any plane tickets available but planes don't go from Perm to Kazan. We ended up having to by tickets for a thirteen hour night-time bus ride. Anna's Mum kindly offered to get the tickets on our behalf when she went into work that day. Anna told us to expect it to be a rough ride.


Sightseeing in Perm

Way before we left Australia we knew we wanted to see three things whilst staying in Perm and none of them were in the city centre. We wanted to visit the Kungur Ice Caves, Perm 36 and the Belaya Gora monastery. We had been in touch with Anna through the Couch Surfing web site quite a while back and she had priced the tours to all three places and she felt we could do it all cheaper if we found our own transportation. Along comes a saviour – Dennis. He is the son of one of Anna's mum's friends. He is going to be our driver for the two days we are in Perm and we are going to pay him for his efforts.


Kungur Ice Caves

Anna's friend Marsha arrived just before 9 a.m. She is coming with us. Dennis appears shortly after Marsha. Marsha spoke quite good English, much like Anna but Dennis doesn't speak English at all.

Kungur is about 90 kilometres south-east of Perm and it proved to be a very interesting drive. Lots of villages and scenery to look at. We arrived at the caves car park late morning. The next cave tour wasn't for a while so we ate the sandwiches and fruit Anna had brought with us for our lunches. We wandered a little further down the road and had a look at the Sylva River. It's quite beautiful and very picturesque countryside.

Marsha, Jean and Ian at the cave entrance Marsha, Jean and Ian at the cave entrance
Scenery near the entrance of the cave Scenery near the entrance of the cave










Inside the Kungur Ice Cave

The cold hit you as soon as you entered the doors to the cave. The underground passages of the cave stretch for over 6,000 metres. We stopped to look at lots of little grottoes. The tour guide spoke Russian so Anna and Marsha were doing their best to translate for us. We were trying to be unobtrusive but the guide was visibly agitated by our murmurings. I think our tour took about one hour and twenty minutes and we saw about 1300 metres of the cave passages. At times it was quite slippery. We were told it was five degrees below zero in there but at other times it can get down as low as 35 degrees below zero. It cost us 400 roubles each (about $15 AUD) for our entrance fees.

A grotto inside the cave Grotto inside the cave
The nearby Sylva River The nearby Sylva River










We were all quite hungry by then so the girls took us to the nearby hotel café for lunch. We ate salad, a soup that is apparently traditional in southern Russia followed by rissoles and a potato bake. We have no idea of the cost as the girls treated us to our lunch. In Russia it is normal to eat your salad before your soup course.

It was time to head for the Belaya Gora Monastery. We headed back across the car park and found Dennis ready and waiting for the next journey.


Next page - Belaya Gora Monastery


Our trip in the order it happened:

Travel Planning Necessities
World time zones, world weather, currency converter, language translator services.

Search over 25,000 hostels.

Trip Advisor Forum - Russia
The place to find information about Russia when you can't find it elsewhere.

Way To Russia
Another very good forum

Getting A Russian Visa
The process is explained

Trains between Moscow & Saint Petersburg
Explanation of the types of trains on that route.

Firmenny Trains
An explanation of what they are.

Moscow's Railway Stations
A map of their locations and proximities.

Learn How To Speak Russian
Free lessons.

Map of St. Petersburg
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Map of Moscow
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Moscow Times Newspaper
English version.

The Russia Club
A forum for all those interested in anything "Russian".

Russian Rail Timetable
It takes a bit of mastering but Ian managed it (eventually).

The Art Of Travel
Very interesting travel information for all locations.

Smart Traveller
Australian Government's site dealing with current travel advice.

Travel Independent
A site written by travellers for travellers. Lots of information.

Things To See And Do In ...
Alice Springs

History of ...
Alice Springs