Climate change just opened a gateway to the underworld in Siberia
Absurd headlines notwithstanding, it’s saddening to read about such an visible sign that our climate is changing, in the most pristine part of the world we’ve visited on our trip.
The forest around Lake Baikal (a long way south of the region in the article) reeled me in. I’ve never been somewhere so big before. It’s genuinely breathtaking, looking out at huge mountain ranges you’ve never heard of, marching off into the distance. On a map the near-wilderness looks limitless on a human scale, but clearly its limits are being tested with so many humans sharing the atmosphere. I left Siberia plotting to come back, perhaps for a few months, to really appreciate the vast swathe of nature north of the Trans-Siberian railway.
It’s likely to be years before I see Siberia again, here’s hoping there’s something to come back to.
We don’t have to do this to the world, let’s keep trying not to!
Great article on the Guardian yesterday about the difficulties, and rewards, of travelling as a vegetarian. Shahnaz Habib has perfectly captured the frustrations of not getting to eat ‘authentic’ dishes, and the thrill when you somehow manage to communicate what you want, and end up with something delicious.
Why being a vegetarian traveller is often so hard to swallow
One of the things I miss when we’re away from the UK is Radio 4. My favourite programme is From Our Own Correspondent, so I keep up with it by downloading the podcast.
If you’re not an avowed Radio 4 geek, From Our Own Correspondent (or FOOC for those who can’t be bothered to type) is a programme where news correspondents tell stories about the place they’re posted that aren’t news exactly — more personal stories, or strange events.
I mention it because the boxing day edition had current correspondents reading despatches from the past, and one of them was about Irkutsk in the particularly harsh winter of 2001. It really gives an idea of how dangerous winter can be there. The coldest we experienced (-17) is a normal November day for Irkustk, but the effects of the temperature dropping to -40 are heartbreaking.
You can listen here if you’re interested, the Irkutsk piece starts at 6 and a half minutes in, though the whole programmes is fascinating (to me!).