Now we are here, Siberia. I look out of the window, expectantly, and feel a bit surprised. The land is mostly flat, with birch trees in loose groups, under a serene sky dappled with light clouds. This place does not communicate the horrors of prisons, gulags and the endless winters which we have learned to associate with the name of Siberia. It passes under my eyes, a bit bland, and empty, but neutral, innocent and light. I know that we are far from everywhere here, but this is an intellectual knowledge. When I look out of my train window, I don’t feel it. And what I see does not seem exotic, but strangely familiar. I would like to go out for a walk here, in the tall grass under the birch trees.
And then a town, not beautiful, but full of people living their lives. Casually, as if it was normal to live in a place like this. They go for walks, for rides on pleasure boats, dress up for the first day of school and laugh and joke.
And we sit on our train (the good old Yenisey again), so comfortably. Not like it was a special but a most normal thing to be crossing this wide stretch of land that goes by the name of Siberia.