Yes, the white spots are snow flakes…
Soon after my arrival in Tomsk snow started falling and would continue for the next four days. The high temperature each day was just above freezing and plunged in the evening. Expeditions for sightseeing more than 2 or 3 hours became uncomfortable. Like many of the Siberians, I dressed heavier and engaged in more indoor activities such as sipping tea or coffee in a local café, dining in local restaurants, or surfing the net. On my first expedition out of the hotel I headed down the main street that ran parallel to the river. Parks, restaurants, cafes, the arts buildings including the philharmonic are all on Ulitza Lenin and provided many different sights.
I walked to near the ballet and opera buildings. A large plaza by the river looked like a lovely park in the summer time. During the snow I only saw some kids riding their bikes and others playing and having snowball fights. A small bridge near a creek that ran into the river was covered in padlocks. I have seen this all over Russia and in Ukraine. After a couple is married, they take a padlock to the bridge, lock the padlock on the rails of the bridge symbolizing their love, and then they throw the key over the side symbolizing that they will never break up.
Nearby I saw a boy relaxing on a park bench. I was moving around and I was 1/2 frozen. He seemed to be perfectly content to sit in the park and listen to his MP3 player. I often see sales people sitting outside in the snow hawking sunflower seeds, socks, and batteries. I don’t think I have a drop of Siberian blood in my body. Luckily, my leather loafers seem to be 100% watertight and have done very well in the snow.
Towards the end of the street I found the “obligatory” Lenin statue. The travel book jokes that he’s pointing at the drab Soviet era hotel saying, “Build more of these.” Just across the street is a beautiful Orthodox Cathedral. As I shot the photos of the Cathedral and Lenin, I shivered. I had been walking in the snow for about 3 hours and I really wanted to get inside and get some hot tea. I happened to look up and saw a billboard that was advertising vacations to Thailand; talk about selling to a captive audience – LOL.
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