Altai Mountains – Russia

6 am our plane was on the landing approach above the night sky over Novosibirsk, the city looked like an impressive big mining yard, one smoking chimney after another. We left Novosibirsk and drove with a little bus 16 hours to the southeast of a village named Kurai. The next morning we woke up and in front of us the whole Altai Mountains where looming above yellow grassy meadows in the first rays of sun. An old soviet Truck was waiting for us and we took this Taxi ride for 3h ours over a pretty impressive adventurous road to Valley called Aktru- a little tourist destination for people from Novosibirsk. In the middle of the arolla pine forest we found some huts, which were ruled by Valerie and his crew. After a stormy first day we scouted the first mountains and camped a night on the glacier. The skiing was incredible and either was the Mountain scenery. After a little brake we stayed for nearly ten days on the glacier skiing until all our physical reserves were empty.

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Totally crashed we arrived at the huts of Aktru and were welcomed by Valéry, Vladimir, Larisa, Slava, Mjrgen and all these other wonderful people. Larisa and Slava who where the cooks of this resort fulfilled all our dreams and Vladimir entertained us with a ton of good stories. We stayed a few days in the base, eating, discussing and sweating in the russian bania. In those days we grow together with those people like I never witnessed it before. We were sitting together nights long joking, laughing. We where discussing serious topics about the relationship between western countries and Russia. About past times and the situation for Russians and Austrians nowadays. After this few days it felt really hard to leave our new won family.

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Now sitting in front of the computer and watching what’s going on right now between Russian and the Ukraine. I´m speechless ones again. It felt hard for me to say who is evil and who not and how all this can be stopped, I´m sure I will never find it out. But what comes into my mind is a sentence ones the great Journalist and Picture editor John G. Morrison said “People can live together in peace when they know each other”. I will remember our days with our Russian friends forever.

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