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11
Feb

kamtchatka-thermal hot spring copy

Well, it is not quite as cold as Kamtchatka but the white commons have brought back memories of my trip there and made me want to look at the pictures of my time there. I had never seen so much snow in my whole life. I do come from a sunny country after all and even if we have a few mountains in Lebanon, the snow we get in winter is not on the same scale. It is never two metres high or more like it is in Kamtchatka as you can see from how the helicopter had landed in the snow in the picture below.

kamtchatka-helicopter sinking in snow copy

We had flown in it to get to an eco lodge by a thermal spring. After we slid out of the helicopter and started battling our way through the snow towards the lodge, I spotted a tiny hut about 200 metres from the lodge. My heart sank and I whispered to my lovely friend Daniela who had invited me on this adventure of a lifetime that I was sure the hut was our bathroom. I was half joking but it turned out to be true. Inside, was a hole in the ground which was to be our lavatory; and it stank despite the cold. This was bad enough, but there was also the threat of being attacked by bears. At that stage, I didn’t know they hibernated in winter! I defiantly announced to our host that there was no way we were going to wake up in the middle of the night and walk to the hut to have a pee. He had to do something. The irony was that he had a proper bathroom in his lodge but he had never bothered to plumb it in. He was charming though (you can see him standing by the thermal spring in the picture below) and he agreed to rig the bathroom so that we didn’t have to traipse to the horrid little hut!

kamtchatka-eco-lodge

kamtchatka-our host in eco lodge copy

It was there that we had one of two really good things to eat throughout our whole trip. He fished and cured his own salmon which was very red and seriously delicious — not sure why I never took any pictures of our meal there. Perhaps because the rest of the food was bad,  almost as bad as what I ate in Baku in Azerbajian where I had been for my nephew’s wedding. Anyhow, our trip to Kamtchatcka turned out to be not so much of an adventure of a lifetime because much of what we were promised ever materialised. There was no way we could get into the thermal spring by the lodge because they had neither steps to get in and out, nor bathrobes for us to wear once we’d taken our dip. I didn’t mind so much because I doubt I would have taken that dip. What I really minded was the fact that they never took us by helicopter to see the geysers and the following year there was a mudflow through the valley. Still, we were able to admire the snowy landscape and volcanos from the helicopter as we flew to the lodge.

And when we went on a sled ride somewhere else, instead of the two of us on the sled as agreed, we had a whole group of Russian tourists also climbing on board with some literally sitting in my lap. The picture below is of me before getting mobbed!

kamtchatka-snowy-landscapes

kamtchatka-about to go on sled ride copy


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