Welcome to Novosibirsk!

16.06.2017 прогулка по Академу_038

Dear visitor from whatever corner of the world!

I am happy to welcome you in this blog and I hope you find it useful!

My name is Olga Tkachenko, I work and live in Novosibirsk, Western Siberia, Russia, together with my  husband and our three sons. I am a freelance English-Russian and German-Russian interpreter, translator and tour guide, and all three occupations are more than my job, they are my life.

My translation and interpreting career started in 2000. As an in-house translator and interpreter, I used all opportunities to constantly master my skills. In 2004 my first son was born, and freelancing looked like a better choice. In 2006 I started tour guiding in Novosibirsk, and since then it has been my greatest pleasure.

The idea of blogging came to me in 2010 when I realized that people from other countries do not know much about Novosibirsk and Siberia, that they can’t find any information about my region in English, so they can’t plan travels here, and that in the available sources my home city doesn’t look like an exciting travel destination. I felt a push to change it. This is how it all started. Now I feel it my mission to help you arrange your travel to Siberia, to get necessary information, to make your stay in Novosibirsk and everywhere in Siberia comfortable.

In the «About Me» page you can read what has become of it.

And ask your questions about Novosibirsk.

MIRA SPA

The first MIRA SPA at the Ob promenade opened its doors in 2013 and since then it has been the best place in the city to relax and restore peace of body and soul.

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Tomsk. Day or two-day trips from Novosibirsk

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Have a longer stay in Novosibirsk?  Don’t hesitate, go on a one or two-days trip to Tomsk. Located approximately 250 km to the north of Novosibirsk, this cozy city will be a cherry on your cake. It is filled with carved wooden houses looking like they come from Russian fairy tales. Its world-recognized universities opened long before Novosibirsk was first mentioned. Old but youthfully vibrant, it won’t leave you untouched.

A spare day in Novosibirsk. Possible day trips.

You are coming to Novosibirsk for several days and have a spare one? There are many options. You can visit a museum or two and go to the Opera in the evening or you can just wander along the broad streets of the Siberian capital. But what if you have already done all that? There are many variants of day trips. If you choose one of them, you will have an idea of life an remote Russian village or in a small town, or you will enjoy natural landscapes typical for the Western Siberia. Some of these day trips may include an easy hiking tour.

Novosibirsk Zoo

bg-bear-low  The Zoo in Novosibirsk is one of the largest in Russia and one of the main city sights. It history started in 1933, when a small activity center for children was organized, where kids were suppose to learn about animals and to take care of them. In 1950 it was turned to the zoo. It was home to 82 species of animals and was well visited, though its general condition was rather poor. The cages were small and uncomfortable and visitors had difficulties moving around. Everyone understood that the new premises was urgently required, but the construction did not start until 1983. The huge territory is located amidst the pine forest ensuring nature-similar conditions for the residents. In 2005 all the animals and the administrative staff relocated and overnight the zoo became one of the most visited places in the city where everyone can easily spend the whole day under green trees looking at animals and birds.

Delicatessen Store. New Way of Eating Out

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The concept of delicatessen stores is not completely new for Russia. They existed during the Soviet Era, too, however, it was not common to eat out there and the food was rather plain, mostly represented by a few  types pirozhkis (buns or patty cakes). For eating out there were canteens, the Soviet kind of fast food, offering very typical set of dishes, including mashed potatoes, chops, borsch and a salad or two. Of course, it was not common to ‘spend time’ there, and the quality of food left much to be desired. The modern delicatessen stores resemble their ancestors only in terms of plain interior, though of course it’s lots more comfortable and welcoming. Otherwise they are a fast, convenient, cheap and healthy variant of eating out suitable for all sorts of visitors. Fans of traditional food, vegetarians, vegans, followers of gluten-free diet and even raw-food enthusiasts won’t stay hungry here. Everything is always fresh, the choice is abundant, the staff is helpful and ready to explain what is what, and the service is quick, and the prices are very affordable. Exactly what you need, if you are in a rush, or if you are a traveler who want to eat healthy local food but don’t want to spend hours waiting for your dish. In the early hours you can be offered a traditional Russian or continental breakfast, and around lunchtime you will always choose one of 2 or 3 soup varieties. All food and drinks can be packed, so that you can enjoy them at home or in your hotel room.

Kolyada Cafe. Traditionally Russian and Great Food for Everyone

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Kolyada is perhaps the best place to eat in Novosibirsk. Traditional Russian cuisine, traditional Russian interior, nice music, prompt service, great location close to the major attractions and business quarters. It’s affordable for everyone: families with kids, office workers, students, budget travelers, but it’s not surprising to see wealthy business owners and public figures here.

The best time to visit Novosibirsk. When?

The idea to write this post came to me a week ago when I guided a group of Thai tourists. We had planned a great itinerary for 8 hours, including a visit to a nearby village to get an idea of the rural Russia, a visit to Academgorodok to see how people of science live surrounded by the forest, and a lot more. But we had to go to the market and the shopping mall instead as the day was impossibly dull — snow-rain, grey sky, dirty melting snow… Novosibirsk refused to show its best to this Thai group, apart from one of the Beerman restaurants, which are exceptionally good all year round.

But these travelers read about Novosibirsk in a blog of another Thai traveler, who was lucky to come to Novosibirsk on a beautiful December day. It was about -20 that day, it was snowing, but we had a great time exploring the pine forest, and the village, and the city covered in sparkling snow.

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The Largest Aquapark in Russia

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For many long years aquapark was one of the most anticipated projects in Novosibirsk. Numerous design projects replaced each other; the location was changed many times. Finally all details were settled and coordinated, and a huge construction started several years ago to be finished in 2016. Now Aquaworld (AquaMir) is the largest in the country and one of the ten largest in the world.

Novosibirsk-Glavny Railway Station

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If you arrive to Novosibirsk by train, the first building you see is the railway station, and even if you don’t see anything else in the city but this building, you will still see enough. The Main Railway Station (Novosibirsk-Glavny in Russian) is one of the main city attractions and one of the largest railway stations in the country with the total area of more than 29000 m2. Its shape resembles a locomotive heading eastwards.

Coffee Collective. Tasty and Trendy.

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Coffee Collective is a coffee shop close to the downtown. It’s hard to surprise visitors with good coffee; it is good nearly everywhere, so coffee shops try to surprise us with exclusive service, trendy interiors and specialties.