Our first stop was in Tomsk where we visited some local rehab centers. When I say local, I mean anything within 75 miles of the city. One of the rehab centers could only be reached by driving across a river, about a quarter of a mile wide, on the ice. We had read of people in Siberia driving on rivers, but this was a first for us. It was pretty scary!
On Friday 11th Dec, we were taken from the city of Tomsk to a small city called Kolpashevo, 350 kilometers away. The drive to get there was about 5 hours and, in Russia, the only place to stop along the way and go to the bathroom is at a roadside outhouse. It has no heat and no seat. It is simply a hole in the floor and you hope that you don’t slip on the yellow ice! As we were driving the car got colder and colder and when we arrived we learned that it was 40 below zero. Trust me. That is very cold!
It was so cold that the wood fired heating system in the house where we were staying couldn’t keep the house warm and I’m guessing that it was about 50 at best in the house. There was a thick layer of hoar frost on the inside of the windows. By Sunday the temperature had risen to about 10 above zero and everyone was rejoicing at how warm it was. The furnace was finally able to make the house warm again.