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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Tim attacked by Bear!

Days 698-699

A day and a half in Perm. I was reflecting on Vladimir's reaction when we mentioned we were visiting this city. I wonder what our time in Perm is going to bring?

As we walked out of our apartment and along the street, I was reflecting on Vladimir’s reaction to us visiting #Perm. The streets were badly potholed, and many of the blocks of flats had seen better days. Oh dear, what was our time in Perm going to bring?

We stopped off at a café with kitschy décor. Things were looking positive until the mediocre meal arrived. I had checked out the Culture Trip App to see what we could learn about this city. Well, it is the last major city on the European side of the Ural mountains, the Permian geological period was named after the city by British scientist Sir Roderick Murchison, and thirty years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to visit. Mmm… not mind-bending riveting.

However, I had read about the symbolic statue of Permyak Salty Ears! That’s where we were heading. The excitement! On the way, we were waylaid by a few other sights, decidedly communistic. And then….

Tim was flung to the floor, and this gigantic Bear held him down by his huge heavy paw. I am relieved to say that this Bear was good-natured, part of Perm’s heritage and included on their coat of arms.

At last, we found the Permyak Salty Ears, a weird sculpture named “the Strangest Russian Monument”. Salt was supplied all over Russia from this area for over 200 years, and salt-carriers would carry the 60-80kg sacks of salt for 11 hours a day. The salt would seep out and cause the skin of the ears to be red-raw and swollen. When a carrier took his hat off in the tavern, there would be a cry of “Permyak-salty ears has come”.

We walked towards the river and kept noticing a green line on the pavement. This took us to a sign about Merchant Baranova’s House. We noticed at the bottom was a tourist map of the city with 40 different places to visit. Well, there is more to Perm that we thought!

We followed the green line. Oh, there were so many titles for the blog today. The line took us to Chapels, Women Teacher’s Seminary, Art Galleries, a commercial bathhouse from 1874, which soldiers paid 2 kopecks for a bath, Public Gardens overlooking the River, the old Railway Station and Locomotive and various grand buildings from different eras.

There is quite a bit of building work in Perm, both renovation and new builds, and so many pavements have covered walkways. On a drizzly day, this is handy, and Tim did keep commenting that this would be a good idea as a permanent feature for all cities. He does go on sometimes!

We then came across a red line! It transpired to be the “love” line and had 16 stories of love and passion between a whole array of people in Perm – Another title – The Passionate People of Perm. Tim’s bear attack won the day though. Some stories we read:

* Poet Vasiliy had a four-year affair with Augusta Ugova, meeting her in the local gym. He wrote, “My family life blossomed coupled with tenderness of spring”.

* Professor Pavel Guzikov, who saved hundreds of women’s lives and delivered about a million babies, adopted his wife’s children and then her daughter’s child, who became an outstanding artist. She wrote about Pavel “What was he for me? A grandfather, a step-father or a father? A father, for sure! He was my dearest father. That was he who shaped my destiny.”

* Imre Kalman, the eminent composer, was charmed by Vera when he visited Perm. He proposed to her when he was 47, and she was just 18. She became his wife, and he dedicated one of his best pieces to her “The Violet of Monmartre”.

Oh, I could go on about the passion in Perm. If you want to know more, you’ll have to visit here. But be careful of the Bear!


We only had five hours in Perm the next day, before our second instalment on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Not such a success. First, we visited a nearby Museum about the Underground Press. It was closed, despite google stating it was open.

We then walked to the Archaeological Museum but went the wrong way, so visited the impressive Perm Gates made from stakes and a giant dung beetle and ball made from old tyres. Back on track, we realised, after another detour that the Museum was in the grounds of Perm University. Well, we think so, but never found it. We stopped for a long lunch and finally walked to the station in freezing sleet. Oh dear, the weather is changing. The forecast says snow is coming our way! “Winter is coming”

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