Russia boasts 37,653km of coastline, however it is also 17.1 million km² so the chances of you living close to the sea are slim. Fortunately for you, Russia is blessed with plentiful lakes, ponds, forests and nature. When the sun puts its hat on I’m always drawn to Prud Lesnoy, just outside of Tyumen for weather dependant activities.
The first time I visited was with two friends from work and during the winter. Some of the others had declined our invitation because the weather reports couldn’t decide on a definite temperature. The difference between -20C and -15C is actually quite a lot. Luckily, it turned out to be a beautiful day; frosty but sunny.
We arrived early enough to be first in line to ride the huskies. I was so excited! I’ve ridden on a husky sled before but I wasn’t overly thrilled with the experience. Actually, I enjoyed playing in the snow afterwards more. But for some reason, I couldn’t wait to try the dogs again.
The price was 600 rubles (£6ish) for the long track (which was plenty of dog sledding time in my opinion) and the guy who controlled the dogs was awesome! He asked the dogs to speed up in some areas and relax to a trot in others which certainly kept me on my proverbial toes. Several times I had to grab hold of the sled just to keep from flying out of the side. Halfway around the track he stopped the sled and I felt a tap on my shoulder:
Sled Man: Say ‘Hey!’
Sled Man: No. Again.
The dogs took off with such speed! Cross country skiers looked on in disgust as I screamed my way around the rest of the track, bouncing over pot holes and skating in big zig zags behind our dogs. Amazing.
Next, were the ice slides which sent you shooting out across the frozen lake. In Russia, the little round dinghies you ride on are called cheesecakes. Which is hilarious.
Aside from huskies and cheesecakes, there is cross country skiing, ice skating and a cafe where you can buy a pretty OK coffee and come eye to eye with a kind of grotesque stuffed boar head.
My second adveture to Prud Lesnoy came only a couple of weeks ago, when spring graced us with 25C and bright sunshine. We organised a little get together where we all ate mega amounts of BBQ sausages. The lake was still very much frozen (I dipped a finger) but in the summer months I’ve heard it’s pleasant to swim here.
Funnily enough, no one ever talks about the rise of the planet of the bugs. Mosquitos in the summer months were the first to become known to me but I didn’t expect to hear about the the prevelence of ticks in these parts. Apparently, just as spring is arriving they wake up from their wintery slumber and eat everything in sight… so make sure you take tick repellent and cover your ankles/legs – unless of course you want to give Tick-Borne Encephalitis a go.