Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tatarstan 10th Stop : Kazan


Capital of the Tartarstan republic,nicknamed "Muslim Disneyland of Russia" by Edwin's Professor in SPetersburg.This republic is filthy rich, with legends of gold and jewels hidden in the waters.( If interested in the legends of Kazan, i do have a short fairytale book in english which i'm happy to lend )

After sitting a few 4-8 hour bus/marshutka rides over sometimes not so pleasent potholes rocky grounds and a heavy backpack, Selma started suffering from strained back .Unfortunately for us , there wasn't a direct bus going from the train station to the hotel that we managed to book.Hotel Fatimah.We weren't able to find any hostels in Kazan.

And this hotel was the cheapest as listed in Lonely Planet.For a room for 3, 1800roubles per night .that'll be 30sgd per person.Like all hotels , registrations needed to be done and as we fidgeted in our seats waiting to get our passports back , the security guard came up to us and started telling us the various places to go on a map.Room was decent.Toilet however is communal along the corridor but fantastic conditions.(Edwin however had a disastrous experience the weekend he was there _ rejected from the hotel without any help given)

Wandered along the streets , and checked out the Night view of the Krelim.Breathtaking and photos do the view no justice.

We checked out the Krelim the next day.It is sweet to have both a church and a mosque within the same compound.The museum in the mosque is definately worth checking out.Malaysia appears to be a well known country in that area.I chatted with a salesgirl at the souvenir shop.Very basic broken russian.She didn't know where singapore was.But understood when i said Malaysia's neighbour.She knew Malaysia and got excited when i mentioned the country.

I did end up buying a souvenir from her shop,perhaps paying a high price for it.She kept thanking me and gave me a bracelet and a magnet as a gift in return.Although i seriously didn't need that souvenir , that 200 roubles spent is now hanging in my room ,at a spot that i will see whenever i wake up in the morning.

The market was our next stop.Therese went ahead to the jewellery shops in there , looking for some stone necklaces which she tested by biting them.( i've never seen anyone do it like her ).Nothing out of the ordinary except Selma not feeling comfortable seeing dead pigs being chopped up.

If you have been to a completely new place , stepped out of the train and as you walk around , a feeling of familiarity overwhelms you .Then , that was Kazan for me.A city i really liked and a city i knew i was going to go back to again.

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