Home > Cities traveled > Day 10: Khabarovsk, Easter, and snow

Day 10: Khabarovsk, Easter, and snow

April 28th, 2011

It started snowing as we entered the Khabarovsk train station. It was before 08:00 and my next train to wouldn’t be leaving until 15:13 so I was excited about spending several hours looking around this town. Ingrid had given me a tour itinerary that would take me to many historical and architectural points of interest as well as to a restaurant that she liked for it’s Bohemian atmosphere. She showed me the baggage check area in the train station and how to find and use the bus to/from the train station. She also gave me her phone number in case I needed any help. She would be going to spend the day with her family as it was Easter Sunday, after all.

Ingrid’s thoughts on Khabarovsk:

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Surprisingly, I wasn’t cold in the snow (thanks to REI for waterproof clothing and to my Keen waterproof boots) but I soon learned that wind can be grating. The wind urged me not to stop for longer than the time it takes to snap a picture or two and the wind directed the direction I chose to walk, just so I would have it at my back and not blowing snow into my face. As with all things, this was meant to be, unbeknownst to me, because I was heading toward the Amur River and the beginning of Easter Sunday mass at a small cathedral by the river. Easter is “Paskha” in Russian and the greeting is not “Happy Easter” but the the equivalent of “Christ has risen”.

Although the Harley Davidson Saloon seemed to be open for business as a couple of work-dressed women left the establishment before 09:00 (*wink* *wink*), I couldn’t find anything else that would open earlier than 10:00. I had not planned on going in to a church or attending a mass but I eventually decided that I didn’t want to get sick and it would be best if I stopped standing around in the snow.

The church was packed so I just stood in the back. I learned quickly that women kept their hair covered, with hats or scarves, and everyone prostrated and signed the cross (in reverse direction from Catholic traditions) three times while bowing their head when both entering and leaving the church and also at different times in the mass. I stood there in the back awkwardly for a long while and just listened to (and recorded) the beautiful singing.

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After it got too warm and steamy for me in the church, I headed up the Amur River bank to some museums. Even in the light snow, there were others strolling and jogging. After an hour of strolling through the regional museum, I started walking toward the area where Ingrid had suggested I eat, looking for the Pizza Town Cafe. I can’t say that I was lost but I certainly couldn’t find the place, even after trying to ask several people who were walking the busy street or waiting for buses. I had already learned in Vladivostok, however, that someone may not know what is right around the corner from them so I kept asking different people and walking. Signs were mostly in Russian so I got plenty of practice reading the Cyrillic alphabet as well. I also saw Darth Vader’s fighter pilot parked by yet another war memorial. Eventually, I found myself back at the main plaza (Lenin Square) and just caught the bus back to the train station where I picked up some bakery items to eat from a next door supermarket.

Cathedral bells rang constantly all over town:

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  1. Ukey
    April 28th, 2011 at 10:10 | #1

    Sandy – the singing sound is missing…. says file not found. I love reading about your experience, and love even more the sounds you have been recording!! So for this one, I tried to encourage myself to imagine the singing that you heard….. that was nice. Take care and breathe the experience! And share a little pieces with us!

  2. April 28th, 2011 at 14:51 | #2

    I continue to be struck with how pretty Russia is, even as they make their way through the end of winter/early spring.

    Re: the church — I’m not sure that you would have had a chance to sit in there — my understanding is that all Orthodox churches do not have seating…one must stand throughout the entire service.

    Would love to hear the sound clip of the singing if you can manage to find it and reload it!

  3. xg
    April 29th, 2011 at 23:50 | #3

    Fixed! Thanks for pointing that out Yuki. And thank you for following me. It’s reassuring. :) My Mongolia story is CRAZY! I will be posting that in the next few days. If you like drama, this is going to be it.

  4. xg
    April 29th, 2011 at 23:51 | #4

    Thanks for the point about Orthodox church seating. Now that I think about it, you’re right, everyone seemed to be standing. The sound clip should be there now.

  5. from SD
    May 1st, 2011 at 05:01 | #5

    Wow! A Harley-Davidson Saloon in Russia!
    The church is extremely beautiful!
    Khabarovsk seems like a city which combines adapting to modern things and treasuring its own traditional culture. It is a beautiful city.
    Thank you, Sandy!

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