Thursday, January 29, 2015

All the Siberian cities decorate their parks and town squares with ice sculptures. They also make slides for the families to enjoy. We decided to give it a try. 

 This is our first experience with a reindeer up close and personal. We could have gone for a ride but it didn't sound very appealing. Now on the other hand, had there been a sleigh to ride in we would have been all over that.

Full moon over Siberia. I believe it was the first full moon we had been able to see here.

 Elder J. has been anxious to have an ice cream outside when the air was colder than inside a freezer. Makes for a very hard bite.

 This is the train station in Novosibirsk where we caught a train to travel to Omck for the YSA winter ball. We left around 11p.m. and arrived in Omck around 8 a.m.

 Every train station we have visited in Russia has been very beautiful!

 Beautiful inside and out!

 We loved our train ride. It was our first! The train was clean and comfortable, with a smooth, quiet ride. The bed was narrow, but we got a good rest.

 We rode first class! These ladies checked our passports and directed us to our sleeping room.

 Our sleeper, or private room for the ride.

These Elders met us on the train and helped us order dinner and taught us how to turn our couch into a bed and how to access the hidden compartments that housed things we might appreciate like a towel and slippers, tooth brush etc.

We all sat down in our room for a visit  and a picture.

The youth didn't get to ride first class like the seniors, they were two cars down the track. They had a fun ride though and enjoyed the association with each other in an open car with many cots for sleeping. This picture is in Omck when we arrived.

We had a nice visit with Elder Klebingat at the winter ball gathering. He spoke to the youth and we had a nice personal visit with him. Sister J complimented  him on his conference talk and he said, "Thanks I appreciate that, I was all set for what I was going to say and was just trying not to faint". He is a very down to earth man, with a great appreciation for the restored gospel. He joined the church in Germany when he was 17. He shared his conversion story with us and if you are interested in a fun love story, google his name and then select the LDS Women story and you will find a very interesting tale of how he found his wife and their beginnings.

The dance. We have lots of fun pictures of the youth having a great time but we aren't suppose to post them, so you'll just have to imagine 120 kids having a great time.

With the youth we visited this ice park in Omck. This was our coldest experience yet, in Russia. I felt like I was walking on stubs when I finally got into the taxi.

 This tree is actually man made from  an existing tree trunk and has face carvings on the trunk.

 We were very cold in this picture!

 We rode to the park with our mission president and his wife, they were very cold too. We wouldn't have been standing there but our taxi hadn't arrived yet.

 Our youth came down the slide in a mob each time.

They were having a great time, but we weren't the only ones feeling like Popsicles!

 Ice sculptures at night.  Not much to be said except that it was -20C.

 The lighting on these sculptures is really beautiful.

 There is a tradition here that when you get married you place a padlock on the fence to symbolize locking your love together.  We did this on our wedding anniversary, 42 years together.

After placing the lock on the fence we threw the key into the water, again to symbolize your love cannot be unlocked.