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  • Wolfgang Fobo


I was curious. How a Buddhist City in Europe would look like. Elista is the capital of Kalmykia, a Russian Republic, which for whatever historical reasons is home to Buddhist Asians with a Mongol or Chinese look. It was raining, and cold it was, which was not exactly helpful for my sightseeing there.

Folklore or truly in use? I could not figure out

The center can be easily walked, these attraction are not too far apart. What I hoped but failed is to organize an air ticket to Moscow. The lady in the ticket shop was not able to book me in, because my name and passport details apparently did not fit into the structure of her booking system. There is one daily flight from Elista to Moscow Vnukovo, which I hoped to catch, to avoid a 20 hours overland trip with busses. Luckily I managed to get that ticket directly at their provincial airport, which is located far out of Elista, and beware if you send your taxi driver away before being sure to have your ticket in hands. You would make a very lonely person there.

When it rains in the Russian province, you have to deal with water from above, but also from the side, and with mud. Footways are not always well maintained, and big puddles in the roads keep your utmost attention, such that you are not near to such a puddle when a car passes through. Otherwise you will be soaking wet.

With my feet in mud, I could admire Russian glory

Well, I may sound a bit negative. But it was raining, I felt cold, had no onward ticket yet. But always the upside in Russia is the big hospitality of the people. The Russians have truly a big heart.

Such wooden houses can be seen only a few hundred meters away from the center of the city. Not only in Elista

Also, traveling in the Russian province will not ruin you. For around 20 EUR you can have your clean room with free WiFi, mostly including breakfast. In order to locate the hotels, I had made use of the App, which turned out to be the backbone of my orientation anywhere. You download the respective maps prior to leaving your home, and once you are there, you can guide the taxi driver just in front to your hotel, really an ingenious invention, this Or you set your mark when you leave your hotel for sightseeing, and will be guided back. You cannot get lost any longer.

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