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Yakutsk, the world’s coldest city

………but the warmest of people

sunny 19 °C
View Road of Bones 2014 on ScottyJ's travel map.

Just before checking in I thought it may be prudent to pull out a jacket as I was going to be landing at around latitude 60deg so I am guessing it may be a little cooler than where I am. The flight with S7 was smooth as but the landing was a little on the rough side; seemed to be a very lumpy runway! I arrived at around 11pm. It was a smooth exit through arrivals and into a taxi to the hotel. I was mildly excited about catching up with everyone and was expecting not to see them until the following morning due to my late arrival. So you can imagine my surprise when I entered the hotel and most everyone was buzzing around at reception. Seemed that many had experieinced a pretty eventful last day on the road and didn’t get in until around 10pm. Some were dog tired and some were up for ripping it up on Saturday night! Feeling fresh, I chose the latter!! It was great to catch up with everyone again!

Russia never ceases to amaze me with its ethnic diversity. I had come from European Khabarovsk to Yakutsk which is largely inhabited by the Sakha (Russian: Caxa) ethnic group, again another great history read. Almost Asian or Inuit in appearance these people inhabit the coldest region on earth with 40% of Yakutia above the Arctic Circle; this place is built on permafrost. 90% of Russia’s permafrost is in the Sakha Republic with the average thickness being 300m deep with some areas reaching 1500m thick. It regularly hits temperatures of -50deg in winter but once it hits -42deg the schools close down until it warms up a little……………?!! The majority speak the native language Yakut but also speak the national language, Russian. And they are some of the friendliest people we have met on the trip. Amazed that you are even visiting the region………..because no else does, their hospitality is wonderful.

We were amazed in a number of conversations with locals that many knew about our visit as apparently a local journalist had written a number of articles about our trip and impending visit. We had the opportunity to meet her on the last evening as a night had been organised with the local motorcycle club “Northern Wolves” at the Wild Duck Bar & Grill. This is also where we met Sacha and Mila who were also riding to Magadan. Sacha was from the Ukraine and Mila from Magadan and they were going to spend the winter in Magadan and also for Sacha the opportunity to meet the future mother in law! It was a great night for all involved and as I wandered back to the hotel in a balmy 19deg I was finding it difficult to imagine the extremes of cold that this place experiences.

Now over the last two days we had dined rather well on the many local delicacies of reindeer, fish, cured meats and caviar………no there was no Moet but we knew tomorrow we started the 2030km Road of Bones to Magadan and the Pacific Ocean; that also means six days camping and cooking in the Russian tundra hoping that we don’t end up on the menu of any one of the large bear population en-route!

Posted by ScottyJ 16:37 Archived in Russia

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