Ekaterinburg Trip 1 Travelog: Day 1

November 27th, 2006

Despite the brisk -27 degrees Celsius temperature when we arrived, I would describe Ekaterinburg as a warm city. The people are kind and friendly and are reminiscent in attitude to those I know in Upstate New York. Ekaterinburg lies on the eastern slope of the Ural Mountains. It is a city rich in history and industry. In terms of size and feel it is similar to Toronto, Canada and Nottingham, England.

We arrived mid-day on Monday. The area below our approach was ones of trees and snow. The sky above was overcast casting a soft-off white light upon the ground. As the plane touched the tarmac and slid to a stop on the icy runway the months of tension and anxiety lifted away. Just a week earlier we cast our eyes across the Pacific Ocean and knew somewhere in the distance our children slept. But we were separated by half a world and an unknown amount of time – for even though it was just a week earlier, we did not know when we would be traveling. As the plane came to a stop we could feel our children closer to us. We were in the place our hearts have been for the past three months. We were three days away from the time where our hope lay.

We exited the plane on the tarmac. I know many of you have a particular question in mind: What was Tanya’s reaction to the cold? She found it invigorating. Though the temperature was low, it was not very humid and there was little wind. So it did not have that biting or penetrating feel that the cold in Boston sometimes has.

We exited the plane and boarded a bus. Once we were all on board, the bus delivered us to a double set of iron gates that sat between two terminal buildings. We exited and the gates opened. Waiting on the other side of the gates was Olga – our coordinator and the woman who has done the work in Ekaterinburg to make our trip possible.

Olga has been helping families adopt for eleven years now. When we asked how she got started, she replied that it was a “fairy tale story”. Olga is clearly a woman who has a passion for her job and we couldn’t have hoped for anyone more capable. There are still several steps to go in this process and I know we are in good hands.

Once our luggage was in hand we proceeded to Olga’s car. Tanya still found the cold refreshing – especially after an overly warm plane ride to Ekaterinburg. Once in the car, Olga began telling us of her city. The city is one gaining attention in the international world. It is rich in natural resources being so close to the mountains and has a strong industrial infrastructure. But do not think that the city is only one of factory and smokestacks. It has a very modern feel to the city and is filled with shops sporting the latest fashions and trends. Despite the cold, it looks a very comfortable place to live filled with the all the amenities and culture one would expect of a city of two million people.

Our hotel is the Park Inn located in the middle of the downtown area. Much to my chagrin and Tanya’s delight, we are one block from a seven story shopping center. At the hotel Olga introduced us to Yanna, our translator. After unpacking, Yanna took us to a Ukrainian restaurant where we enjoyed a rather delicious lunch. We finished lunch at 4pm as the light began to dim. By 5pm the sun had set.

After talking us to a few shopping centers , Yanna dropped us off at the Park Inn. At this point Tanya still found the cold exciting. So much so, in fact, she wanted to take an evening stroll to explore the city. We dropped off our camera and belongings in our room, bundled up and ventured into the evening whose temperature was dropping each minute.

After a block we could feel the circulation as we walked. And I had to admit, it was refreshing. After two blocks, Tanya turned to me and said: Whoa, its cold – I think I have experienced enough. Let’s head back. Once back in the room we both agreed that city explorations were probably best left for the daylight hours.

All in all, it was a very good day.

Entry Filed under: Adoption,General Musings

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