The last day

Chelyabinsk, park, adjacent to the University

Woke up on our last morning really early, in fact early enough to catch G’s father in the kitchen on his way off to work, with the sodium lights still illuminating the empty snow filled pre-dawn streets. Our run of good brilliant weather continued with a dawn of clear blue skies, so naturally it was off to the University sports centre to hire a couple of cross country skies…

Now you might ask how much cross country skiing I’ve done as an Australian, and if I answered ‘not a lot’ that’d be a little bit of an exaggeration. The most skiing I’ve ever done in fact is a week of down hill back in the eighties. Yes we do have snow in Australia it’s not all drought and flooding rain you know. Luckily, as it turns out, skiing is a much like riding a bike, you never forget the basics. Although when you’re applying down hill skills to cross country it’s a bit like learning the violin and then being invited to a jam session with a double bass. Oh, and while the snow off the path is lovely and soft the snow that you actually fall over on has been compressed by a thousand skiers and to about the same hardness as ice, ouch.

After a solid hour or so of cross country skiing through the forests to the west of the University we circled back to the sports centre to return our skies, and subsequently visit with Galina’s friends and colleagues at the University. Did I also mention that her dad still works at the University as does her uncle? After having a look at some of the recent projects, we all went to dinner at an interesting medieval style restaurant, where it snowed food and rained drink as they say. A great bunch of friends who made me feel really welcome, and a great way to finish our visit. 🙂

Rowan tree in the courtyard of G’s parents apartment block

Little miss enthusiasm 🙂

Don’t lean back Matt, don’t lean baaaack!

Heading back, with South Ural State University (Go Traktor!) in the distance

Follow the lines and who knows where you’d end up.

G versus the hexapod

A great way to finish our visit.  Dinner with friends old and new

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