Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tomsk, Siberia

Tomsk may not ring a bell for quite a few Trans-Siberian travellers, and it is a pity. While not on the main Trans-Siberian line, it is a simple "detour" well worth doing, esp in autumn when the city is graced by the autumn foliage.

Billed as a university city, it hosts quite a few of these academic institutions. But interestingly, its main attraction is its 'wooden-lace' architecture - old timber houses that decorate various parts of the city. Some of these have been restored, but a number of them seems to be rooted in the past and amazingly, a couple of them seems to be inhabited as well. However, the city exude a young and vibrant feel (thanks to the universities?), and the streets are lined with cafes with Wifi etc.

What I like about Tomsk though, is how the city is planned out. Aside from monuments and statues found in almost any other Russian city, many parts of the streets are tree-lined, and even part of the tram line goes through a canopy of trees! Strolling seems to be the city's main pasttime, and I think Tomsk is the city I've seen with the most number of couples and families pushing baby strollers!! Furthermore, the Tom river is just besides the main street, and provides another venue for a wonderful stroll! To top it off, in end September, the autumn foliage makes the whole experience even sweeter!

And really, after hours and/or days of eating and sleeping on a train, a brief stay in Tomsk does wonders to your soul...

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