A quick trip to IKEA a few days later finally made our flat (room) into a home (slightly more livable space). Just having odd items like a spatula and a superfluous cushion for my bed made our little room seem much brighter. Also we caught this stunning sunset as we caught the bus home. It seems that Russia’s wild weather does have its benefits.
The weekend couldn’t come soon enough and we grabbed the opportunity to get some sleep and respite from endless queueing. (this is a lie. we DID do some more queueing in the morning, but I’m trying to keep this a travel blog rather than a place venting queue-related trauma). We decided to explore the other side of the river in Kazan and hopped onto the single metro line. After emerging from underground we attempted to find a church-type building that I’d heard about, before we accidentally ended up in the middle of a rather strange amusement park. (Poor Snow White).
Despite my initial reluctance/natural instinct to stay alive, Issy and Emma convinced me to go on the Ferris Wheel. It turned out to be a good decision, as I didn’t die, and we also got some great views over the river.
After finding our way out we then grabbed a taxi to our desire location; the Temple of All Religions (храм всех религий). I’d been told by some Russian girls I met in the hostel that it was a really interesting place to visit, so thought I’d see what it was like. When we got there we tried to find a door before realising that there was still scaffolding and that it was completely empty inside. We wandered around the outside and took lots of contemplative pics in the pretty sunset light. The temple was designed to be a mixture of a synagogue, an Orthodox Church, a mosque and other religious places of worship, and features symbols from many more religions. We’re not 100% sure what happened to its plans, but as we left we saw that there was in fact an office inside with some people working. All in all, a very mysterious place.
The next day we went to another mysterious tourist destination, recommended by one of the many friendly Tatar taxi drivers. It was called Голубое озеро / Light Blue Lake and was supposedly incredibly beautiful. With the sun shining we set out intrepidly to the outskirts of Kazan. We arrived at the edge of a motorway and walked through a building site, before we found the sign for the lake itself. Despite this slightly dodgy journey, we soon found the pathway and many Russian visitors who were walking and swimming there. And the name of the lake was certainly true; the water was so blue and clear that I was nearly tempted to chuck myself in as well (despite lacking the essential speedos, the apparent choice of fashion for Russian swimmers).
We truly felt our Russian souls growing in such surroundings.
When we left we faced a rather treacherous path back home. After failing to order a taxi, since we were so far from the centre, we were guided across the motorway by a kind Babushka who had appeared from over the hills to this bus stop. We needn’t have been disappointed that there was only room for two since our bus soon arrived and we slowly made our way back to the city.