Just before leaving to Zavyalovo, I had met an Ukranian girl who was thrilled to tell me all about her plans to go live in the mountains of Altay. Magically, we met again and the offer was still on. It had taken me a lot of time and stress to calculate my route and search for hosts on every stop before, so I was not very keen on the idea of changing it all.
Nevertheless, I have committed myself on saying ‘yes’ on everything that I get offered – which has brought me to beautiful adventures already – so I came along.
Plans are there to be changed, so promptly I sat in the middle of a packed BlaBla-car for the 8 hour drive to Askat. Arriving at night and waking up in heaven, I have not regretted any second of my once more impulsive decision.
When I woke up, the first thing I saw – after my pillow and a cat’s ass – were beautiful mountains screaming for me to have a walk in them.
We walked for hours through untouched landscapes in order to find the blue lakes. They reflected the sky as if it was a mirror and the taste of the mountains made you believe that drinking this water granted you eternal life.
I saw one of the women opening a cabin that turned out to be a banya.
Surprisingly, they started gathering fire wood and lit it. We got naked, enjoyed the heat of the relaxing space and took a dive or two into the ice cold water.
This can only happen in Russia, the world out here is truly surreal.
The magic of Altai has caught me in it’s spell.
While in Zavyalovo I needed to know my place as a women, I stumbled into these two amazingly independent creatures in Askat. They didn't need men to chop up wood, renovate the house or navigate through the mountains. These two neighbours were young, beautiful and married to happiness.
My host lived in the middle of the artistic village in a super small one-room-house.
She was the kind of girl singing in the shower without any shame and her serenity and creativity was admirable. Lighting up the fire place was a whole ritual and the burning of it should be honoured at all times.
We were one, like sisters, living on a small space without any discomfort of not having any privacy. We spent our evenings making dream catchers, Christmas decorations and even had a party of two.
I was dancing in the modest house with a glass of tea in my hand as if it was pure brown rum.
At night I felt like a caterpillar in her cocoon and like a butterfly when I unclosed my eyes.
Every day was a transformation into something beautiful.
I was the one living in a post card now. The world I had been surfing to back home became my reality, and my family and friends have become voices and screens.