Perm and the Kungur Ice Caves

September 12, 2019 We arrived in Perm late last night and immediately transferred from the train station to our hotel for a few hours’ rest. Our tour to the Kungur Ice Caves starts at 9am this morning, with Vasiliy, a local guide. We’ve had unusually warm weather thus far, and today we dress like we expected to do in Siberia! Hats, gloves, scarves and winter jackets. The average temperature inside the caves is +5C!

On the way to the village of Kungur we pass a factory which makes rocket engines, even used in USA rockets.
I also snapped this petit church on the way to Kungur.
Our first visit in Kungur is to this lovely church overlooking a river. We climb the bell tower for wonderful views.
View from the church bell tower in Kungur.
View from the bell tower over Kungur.
Bells in the Kungur church bell tower.
Vasiliy, our guide to Kungur and Perm.
Entering the Kungur Ice Caves.
There are many labyrinths and unique grottos.
Ice sculpture in the Kungur Ice Caves.
The walls of the caves are colorfully lit.
There are many underground lakes with crystal clear water. This may look shallow, but it is about 3 meters deep, reflecting the ceiling above.
After visiting the caves we enjoy lunch at a lovely local restaurant. We celebrate another birthday today with a vodka toast and the birthday song.
We return to Perm for a walking tour of the city center.
Perm Opera House
The highlight of my day in Perm was our visit to the home of Sergei Diaghilev, the famous ballet impresario who founded Ballet Russe.
Here we viewed photos and paintings of some of his most famous dancers, including Vaslav Nijinski, his lover.
Diaghilev collaborated with the composer Igor Stravinsky, creating some of most memorable ballets such as The Firebird, Petruska, and The Rite of Spring.
His unique style of dance is commemorated in statues and bas relief artworks in his home which is now both a museum and a school.
Art at the home of Sergei Diaghilev.
Nijinski, Diaghilev’s lover for many years.
A male dancer as a mythical forest creature.
A male dancer as a mythical forest creature.
A male dancer as a mythical forest creature.
Concert hall in the home of Diaghilev.
Statue of Diaghilev in the concert hall.
Personal study at Diaghilev’s home.
Intimate performing space in Diaghilev’s home.
Costumes, portrait and death mask (obscured behind a palm leaf) of one of his most famous dancers, Anna Pavlova.
Group photo at the symbol of the city of Perm, a bear.
Before bidding us farewell, Vasiliy explains why people from Perm are called “Big Ear People.” In the old days they used to haul large bags of salt on their heads. As the salt would fall their ears would swell, and to this day people from Perm are called “Big Ear People”

After our tour we return to the hotel for a break / free time for dinner. We depart the hotel at 9:30pm and return to the train station for a short (5 hour) trip to Yekaterinburg, arriving at 3:35am. Just to keep you up to date, dear readers, I am publishing my blog before collapsing in bed. We have free time until 2pm tomorrow, so I will still get some sleep. We just don’t know what time of day or night it is anymore, with so many time changes and odd train schedule hours! But what an adventure!

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