Tomsk - The student capital of Siberia

We decided to break up our journey east in Tomsk rather than Omsk. Starting out on our trip to Russia we had always said that Lake Baikal would be our most easterly destination. We are beginning to have second thoughts about this as we are a little overwhelmed with the distances involved in this massive country.

These vendors sell an ice cold drink made out of fermented rye bread called Kvas. It's lovely!
We read the other day that it’s the same distance from Yekaterinburg to Vladivostok as it is from Berlin to New York. And we are already farther east than Pakistan, which sounds crazy when I say it aloud. So, as much as we had wanted to see the what 24% of the world’s surface fresh water looked like, it might have to wait until sometime in the future.

The most famous of all the wooden houses.

A strange little spring we found down by the river.

Back to Tomsk then. The student capital of Siberia, and a higher concentration of ‘Gingerbread’ wooden houses than anywhere else in Russia. We wanted to base ourselves here, and rather than relying on van showers and gas station toilets we wanted to have access to proper hot showers. So we emailed a few hostels with car parks and asked if we could camp for a few nights with them. One replied, Hunter Hostel on Ulitsa Gargarina and said for 800 roubles we could have showers, toilets, access to the kitchen and wifi. So that’s where we have been for four nights.

Streaming the first England game over a dodgy 3G signal.
The guide book is right, Tomsk is about 25% students and you can feel it. There is a youthful vibrant atmosphere to the city, with cool trendy bars and coffee shops, and home to Europe’s most easterly top flight football team. When they play in winter in drop as low as -20.

Our little campsite for six nights.
We ended up staying in Tomsk for six nights, it was nice to be stationary for a while. We managed to see a couple of the world cup games live on the big telly in the hostel too. The day before we left Tomsk, the central locking on our van stopped working. Not life or death but a massive pain. We searched for a replacement battery but changing it didn't do anything. So we decided to head for a Citroen / Fiat dealer in Kemerovo, more of that later.