Russia : Kamchatka : #14 Bystrinsky Museum of Local Lore

It was 28th August, and we were still in Esso and staying at the ‘Uyznoe Guesthouse’.  Esso, with a population of about 1950 (2010 census), is the regional capital of the Bystrinsky area; there aren’t any other choices of places to stay or visit.  Esso is it.

Thankfully a ‘slow’ day was planned as a bit of a rest in the middle of the trip and a morning off for our hardworking driver and crew.  Those suffering from the dreaded head cold didn’t feel up to much physical activity anyway.  After breakfast we walked from the hotel to the Bystrinsky Museum of Local Lore.

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P1120065  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120065 © DY of jtdytravels

The museum was set up to depict the way of life of some local tribes, who, by now, have mostly been assimilated into the wider community.  There was a distinct lack of interpretive information in English, but we got the general idea from the well set up displays.  Our guide spoke in Russian, but her commentary was translated by Gulya.

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P1120074  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120074 © DY of jtdytravels

There were several totem style sculptures in the grounds of the museum.

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P1120067  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120067 © DY of jtdytravels

The main house was a fairly modern style house for this region.  Being such a remote area, only local materials are used.  Buildings such as these are similar to the ones I saw in Siberia a few years ago.  They are made of wood with moss, lichen and hair being stuffed into the cracks between the logs to keep the dwellings basically airtight and warm.  They are really most efficient constructions particularly considering the temperatures falls to -30°C (-22°F), and below, during the long winters.  Everything is made from what could be found in the district.  There’s no building supply store nearby in this remote part of Russia.

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P1120069  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120069 © DY of jtdytravels

The entrance door was beautifully carved and had distinctive hinges.

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P1120071  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120071 © DY of jtdytravels

A simple door handle, made from a branch of a tree.

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P1120108  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120108 © DY of jtdytravels

An interesting wooden door knob.

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P1120095  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120095 © DY of jtdytravels

This was a very interesting older style of traditional house which now houses dioramas of traditional way of life. The interesting roof creates a vortex that keeps snow from settling on the roof.  To get inside, you had to bend low to go through the tunnel entrance.

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P1120101  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120101 © DY of jtdytravels

Inside, were several full size dioramas depicting the traditional way of life.  Animal skins were particularly important for warmth and were extensively used for clothing and inside the houses as bedding, floor rugs, walls and wall hangings.

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P1120100  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120100 © DY of jtdytravels

This lady, all wrapped up in skins and furs, is shown grinding a grain.

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P1120104  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120104 © DY of jtdytravels

A warm fur hat decorated with bead trimming.

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P1120077  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120077 © DY of jtdytravels

Even the backs of the hats were decorated with beads.

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P1120078  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120078 © DY of jtdytravels

Models depicting both the typical facial structure and clothing of the local tribe’s people.

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P1120085  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120085 © DY of jtdytravels

One of the important Kamchatkan wild animals is the Lynx, a good looking big pussy cat!   We had seen brown bears and marmots but there are other wild animals in these forests including Red Fox, Arctic Fox, Hare, Sable, Mink, Wolf, Elk, Reindeer, Snow Sheep, and Otter.  We didn’t see any of those.

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P1120086  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120086 © DY of jtdytravels

Eagles (like this stuffed one) are a most important bird species in Kamchatka, especially the magnificent Steller’s Sea Eagle.  Other birds in the area, although we didn’t see them, are the Golden Eagle and Peregrine, Rock and Willow Ptarmigan, Black-billed capercailye, Long-tailed Hawk, and Owl.  Some birds such as Partridges, Capercailye and Swans stay on the peninsula throughout the year, while others, in particular Geese and Ducks, come to this remote place every spring for nesting.  The coastal cliffs and rocky islands of the Kamchatkan Peninsula are inhabited by Sea Gulls, Cormorants and Puffins.

{Notes from ‘The Animal World of Kamchatka.}

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P1120072  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120072 © DY of jtdytravels

A bridge was being renewed at one side of the museum.  Although a metal sub-structure is used, logs form the base for the road surface.

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P1120111  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120111 © DY of jtdytravels

We walked back to the hotel for a quick lunch before climbing aboard our bus/truck for another rough ride along a track that was again much too narrow for the width of our vehicle.  Our destination was Lake Ikar, perched above the Bystraya River.  There, in this idyllic setting,  we met some Russian fishermen. (He does have pants on – they are just short shorts!)  There didn’t seem to be any fish for their efforts.

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P1120112  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120112 © DY of jtdytravels

Late afternoon reflections in the lake.

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P1120114  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120114 © DY of jtdytravels

Another view of mountains around the lake. Trees had died as a result of earlier volcanic eruptions.  New ones were growing.

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P1120121  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120121 © DY of jtdytravels

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a Bear Museum which was attached to the local library.  The stuffed  four year old brown bear that’s on display there, towered over Demar and Sasha, and they are not small men.

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P1120116  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120116 © DY of jtdytravels

The librarian gave a very good presentation.   I was glad I didn’t miss her talk even though I sat sniffling and snuffling in the corner.  I was not feeling the best but I’m pleased that I saw this ‘guy’ who gave a good indication of the size of the bears ‘out there’. No, I don’t think I want a hug from one of these!

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P1120118  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1120118 © DY of jtdytravels

 Just look at those claws!   And we’ve been walking in their territory!

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After we arrived back to the warmth and comfort of the hotel, there was only ten minutes to get myself organised for dinner.  Just enough time to down a whisky – for medicinal purposes, of course.

After dinner, our driver, Toly, said I should drink a vodka and black pepper to fix my cold.  He put a ¼ of a teaspoon of pepper into a shot glass, poured in some vodka and stirred it vigorously.  I was exhorted to throw it down the hatch in one.  Did it work?  If it did, I’d be hard pressed to tell if it was the vodka and pepper, the whisky or the beer I had with dinner.  Maybe, in combination, a miracle would result.  Only time would tell.

Just to add another bow to my ‘treatment’, I set off to the hot pool for a soak for 20 minutes.  Then to bed and the hope that at least something worked.

David

All Photography Copyright ©  David Young of jtdytravels

Stories and photos of our other travels can be found on:

www.jtdytravels.com

and

www.jtlifesgood.wordpress.com

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