This time we dive into the Great Spaces of the North, into Siberia. We are facing a land of adventure, facing the challenge of living nomads by bike, here in this region where only the name already makes you shiver. We really feel like we’re jumping forward, as if we’re following Fibie’s rapid development. All the realisations are coming faster, bringing us more awareness and leading us to live our truth.
We arrive by ferry to Vladivostok, this city that makes us dream. We are in Far East Russia, on the territory of the Siberian Tiger. It is here that Nayla celebrates her 5th birthday, in this city that charmed us. Prepared to receive a welcome that reflects the weather, grey, dull, frigid and stormy, we are amazed to meet all those people who believe in us, in our nomadic life, and who find it incredible. However, the arrival on Russian land takes us to the old continent, to a vibration that awakes wounds within us. We are also entering into resonance with what the Earth carries of suffering, with all the weight of Russian history that has not yet been liberated. So much fear and sadness. Fear has overwhelmed us. Impossible to cycle from Vladivostok, the danger of ticks carrying encephalitis appears like a shadow on our path. We can somehow feel a sort of separation between the world of men and that of nature, which is experienced as austere. At the same time, Russia is huge. The rules of the game were clear from the start, we were going to take a train. What is then our itinerary, where is our path?
From Vladivostok, we board a train on the famous Trans-Siberian railway to Irkutsk. 3 days to live a journey that is part of the Russian experience, from the Samovar to the provodnitsa (the wagon attendant), from encounters to the few Russian words we remembered. 3 days in a restricted space, while the wild landscapes unfold behind the window. The wide rivers cross gigantic panoramas. The forests define the route. And when the spaces open, it is a deep breath with sumptuous and pristine places that the wild flowers adorn with their bright colours. These panoramas call us, they are exhilarating of freedom.
This time, we dive in and start cycling again. We cross the Taiga, protective and suffocating at the same time, then everything opens up in front of Lake Baikal. There, the power of the place moves us, it is a sacred sea for the native populations. It extends far away, without ever defining a horizon line, as if it was part of the sky. The water is pure, transparent and inhabited by so many species that only live here, such as the nerpa, the only freshwater seal species. Here the lights are magical, just like the energy present: soft and peaceful, it heals the soul, and at the same time it is uncompromising in the face of imbalances. We camp here nurtured by every light that shines endlessly through the long boreal evenings.
The small Siberian houses are symbols of our passage, humanising these sometimes terrifying cities. But above all, what has marked our path is all the encounters tinged with a deep humanity. It is Tatiana and Serguei’s plov, Andree and Vera’s dacha, Valentine’s generosity, Oleg and Natacha’s banya, Kosita’s dad chachliks and many others. It was all these men, women and children who shared their friendships. They were kind, touching, caring, and often they offered us their most beautiful gifts, when a few tears made their eyes sparkle as we left.
We have been lead to sumptuous landscapes, healing, liberating. We followed the Tounka valley facing the Sayanes high peaks. The river meanders through the territory and we swim in it. Here we are completely immersed in nature in the heart of Siberia. We thus delight in our life of simplicity, in these wild spaces where every gesture counts.
This life is challenging, we must filter our water, live in the heart of the elements, hide under a mosquito net besieged by these bloodthirsty beings, sometimes suffering the sun of its never-ending daylight. There, however, we are carried by the shamanist energies of the population. A people rooted in their land and bearer of its magic.
The reality of the life in Siberia is however harsh, there is something hard, in the cities, in the glances, of a life that at times is endured. Just as the creative spaces seem non-existent. We are subjected to this weight, sickened, impossible to sustain our bodies. A part of us can’t take it anymore. Perhaps it is from these cities that still belong to Lenin, like that colossal statue of his head on the Soviets’ square in Ulan Ude, as if only a new revolution could bring more joy and lightness. However, what will remain in us is the incredible welcome we received in Siberia, the outpouring of sympathy that all showed us, and these small Siberian houses with their colourful shutters. As we left, Fibie waved her hand on the sound of the Paka-paka.