“At first you are afraid, and then you fall in love.”
I never have free time. I blame the busy schedule of a show MC. Especially it concerns warm summer months – so many weddings! It would take considerable luck to get away and travel for a few days. This year the miracle finally happened. I ran away for a whole six days! It was a true holiday, which I decided to spend in the company of my beloved wife and her brother, the actor of the Novosibirsk Academic Youth Theatre “Globe”.
All my friends and relatives know that my passion is traveling through the vast expanses of our Mother Russia by car. It was not even a question of going abroad. Of all the possible directions, I chose three options: Olkhon Island at Baikal, Gorny Altai and the Republic of Tyva. The last point was taken up by chance, under the influence of V. Putin’s speeches about his favourite relaxation spot. I read reviews and articles about Tuva … and was horrified: cruel people, outrageous crime, murders. Honestly, it was scary to go there. But everything changed after the call to a friend who worked in Kyzyl. He spent 30 minutes chatting about me about wonderful, sincere people in Tyva, beautiful museums, amazing nature and clean air. After his words, I did not overthink of it – the decision was already made.
Okay, Kyzyl. We looked forward to the journey but some fears remained: would we return alive? Now, upon returning home, it’s even funny to remember being so anxious. First of all, we were surprised by the roads. We left Krasnoyarsk late at night and expected that the road would be long and rather … uneven. But there was not even a dent! The road surface was perfect! In a million-strong city Krasnoyarsk, such smooth asphalt is a gem.
And the nature! What was flickering outside the windows of the car is indescribable: green hills, neatly cut mountains, a fluffy forest and a pristine river along the road, reflecting the bright rays of the summer sun. We could not resist – often stopped, breathed the sweet air, dipped in and out of the crystal-clear water. Naturally, there was a photo session at each stop. Kyzyl met us with a scorching bright sun, despite it being quite late. It had clean streets and smiling, charismatic people.
The first impression – wonderfully warming! Our friend Chodura showed us the main sights of the city, told about its history, the traditions of the locals, and then offered to treat us with a hearty Tuvan meal. Normal dishes are for amateurs! After settling in a yurt, we ordered one large dish of fried mutton’s entrails for everyone. I had a big dinner and with pleasure, but for my wife and brother-in-law I had to order pelmeni and boozy (dumplings), the taste of which was more universal. After dinner, we visited the legendary railway and beavers living at the spring near it. There we collected clean, cold and delicious water. You can’t find that in a city.
Tuvans were friendly. The stories about them always being armed were as true as us northerners having bears roam the streets. The second day we began a whistle-stop sightseeing tour. I won’t list all the places, because it’d be too long. But some of them I could not ignore. Lakes Duz-hol and Chaghytay simply shocked us! The first was a muddy miracle with clear water. It kept you on the surface and had a sandy bottom, the second lake caused associations with the great Baikal at a first sight because of its purest waters. Both lakes were in very picturesque places. What was most valuable for us urbanites – there were very few people on their shores. Naturally, we jumped into the healing mud, and bathed at will and it was impossible to get enough – we never wanted to leave!
You could not imagine the view from the top of the ‘Mountain of Love’! In fact, this mountain was just a hill on the right bank of the Yenisei, within the city area. But according to the stories of local residents, it was there that couples confessed their love for one another. Apparently, the view from this hill on the city was so beautiful that it plucked the most sensitive strings of the soul! Frankly, I was touched, and I could not refrain from confessing my feeling to my beloved wife.
Then there were Datsan, Aldyn-Bulak, the island of health, the mountain on which the statue of Buddha proudly sat … too many places to remember! But all the places where we managed to visit, left eternal marks in our memory. We were glad that we dared to visit Tuva, despite all the prejudices and rumours. They dissipated as soon as we chatted to Tuvans, who appeared as sunny, kind and sincere people. We visited very powerful places and saw stunning beauty! We returned home (of course, unharmed), but we had an irresistible desire to return to Kyzyl and its surroundings again! I am sure we will!
Author: Yegor Grigoryev, source