Tyumen

Back in Tyumen early Sunday afternoon, I had five hours to explore the town before the train to Irkutsk. And as an aside here, it’s fabulous that every major station in Russia seems to have a 24-hour manned luggage storage facility. I couldn’t explore a local town between trains if there was no place to leave my luggage.

I started walking towards town and then hopped on a bus to the Trinity Monastery. It didn’t take long before I could see the domes over the monastery wall.

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As soon as I walked through the monastery gates, I knew I had stumbled on another gem. The whole courtyard was full of flower beds; in fact, the whole court yard was like a small park, with park benches and several religious-looking birds houses.

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The way you organise a space where the public is welcome says a lot about the people organising it. This monastery courtyard speaks to me of generosity and a warm welcome.

The birds houses and their design suggest that not only are humans welcome, but also the animal kingdom. In fact, the church-styled birds houses imply that animals are also religious beings able to worship God.

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Anyway, that’s my own very personal interpretation of what the courtyard at the Trinity Monastery says about the people there. But before I get too deeply into some theological point, I must include another cool birds house from the Trinity Monastery.

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What I can say for a fact is that I saw a lot of visitors sitting quietly on the park benches, some with their eyes closed as in prayer or meditation, and this monastery courtyard seemed to be a place where they felt welcome and they could pray or meditate outdoors.

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The St Peter and St Paul Church itself, which receives almost lyrical reviews in the Lonely Planet guide book, was unfortunately under renovation. Maybe even that speaks to the people visiting? My life is in a state of renovation. I’m in need of renovation.

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Walking back towards the town centre, I passed by the Krestovozdvizhenskaya Church.

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Next to the the Krestovozdvizhenskaya Church was the most colourful roundabout I’ve ever seen. You kind of needed sunglasses when looking straight at it (whatever it is).

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I walked past the Lovers Bridge.

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And the WWII Monument.

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The Savour’s Church near the station was unfortunately locked, but I got an interesting reflection of it in a nearby office building.

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The City Park looked very busy.

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It was more of a fairground than a park it seemed.

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OK, my 50-hour train journey to Irkutsk is about to begin.

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