23 Nov Visit to Russian Dacha, a Summer Country House in Siberia
When planning the Trans-Siberian Railway trip for our tourists we try to suggest something remarkable they can do in every city. Something which might be special either for this city or for our culture in general and Russian dacha is the best example of it.
What is the Russian dacha?
During summer time Russians like spending time in a so-called Russian dacha, the summer country house with a small garden. Some families move there for the whole season from May until September, others visit for the weekends. Usually, it is the favorite place of the elder generation to spend their time and to grow enormous harvests. Then to save it for the winter pickling vegetables and making jams from all kinds of berries and fruit. Of course, each granny has her own recipe.
So dacha for Russians for sure is a very special place, which might sound like an exotic for some foreigners or at least a very interesting place to visit to see the local lifestyle, to get to know real people, their opinions, and views. That’s why we invite our guests to visit dacha in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.
We would like you to meet two people, our local guides in Krasnoyarsk. Katya Pukhova shows Krasnoyarsk in her own adorable and charming way and if a visit is during the summer she invites over to her dacha. With Mikhail Chistyakov you will find out what Siberian hospitality is and you will be amazed by his family and time you will spend at their dacha. We have asked them a couple of questions. Their answers are below.
Katya, local guide in Krasnoyarsk
1. Tell us the story how have you started to work with ExploRussia and how did the idea come across to show your dacha?
Katya: It was back in 2014 when I was first asked to work as a guide and ExploRussia offered me to show Krasnoyarsk to two groups of German people. What else they have asked if I had a dacha or knew anyone with a nice typical Russian one. I agreed to guide but although I had a country house I didn’t want to bring tourists in because it was very old and not comfortable I thought. They managed to find some other solution, but for the second group strongly asked to bring tourists to my dacha. I was a bit afraid but everything was nice and the group was very happy with the excursion.
My dacha is absolutely typical for Russia and looks absolutely the same as 40 years ago – with a wooden toilet outside, a small banya (Russian sauna) etc. We explored all the plants, went to the river, my neighbor invited us to visit his small museum of old things, then we had tea with herbs and home-made jam. That summer inspired me for some renovation at dacha, so I bought a big table and benches for having lunch outside and a new nice wooden toilet ?
2. What are the things you love doing the most at your dacha?
Katya: I love my dacha because it is near the river.? I love going to the river and sunbathe there, walk and swim. We often invite our friends and make shashlik there. I also like sleeping in the cool house when it’s +36 outside, plant flowers and cucumbers.?
3. What do you like doing with tourists? Which topics do you talk about?
Katya: I like walking in the national reserve Stolbi because I think Russian nature is the most interesting thing here in Siberia.??? I love telling them some interesting stories about our everyday life here in Russia, some unusual stories and facts about Krasnoyarsk and Russia. They are always interested in my private life and ask me about my family, what I do, how I spend my free time etc as I’m a typical Russian citizen.
4. Tell us about yourself. What do you do? What is of your personal interest now?
Katya: I’m an English and German teacher, rent an office and teach there kids and adults. I speak Spanish as well and like Spanish music, dance Latin dances.?The thing that I love best of all is traveling, I’ve visited about 13 countries and 50 cities and have studied Spanish in Spain and English in London.
Mikhail, explore Russian dacha lifestyle with him and his family
1. Tell us your impressions how did you feel about hosting foreign people in Krasnoyarsk?
Mikhail: Working with Explorussia guests was a very exciting experience to me. On the one hand, I did the similar activities many times. I showed my city to people from England, France, Germany, China, Romania before. On the other hand, it’s more serious because this time people were not my friends or my company business partners, they were real ExploRussia tourists and that’s already another level of responsibility.
Further more I was supposed to show them not only city sightseeing but a part of my own life. I was supposed to show to the tourists what the Russian dacha is. But not just some dacha, not a decoration in a fake village but the real dacha of my parents. It’s already something really personal. Also, I was a bit confused because that’s not a splendid dacha with a nice big house. It’s not a place for leisure. It’s hard working weekend place. There a few distractions for guests. But I like such challenges and it was accepted.
2. Tell us what kind of experience it was for your parents?
My parents were also concerned about all this stuff and they started to put everything in order and they even wanted to escape from the dacha while foreign guests would be there. But fortunately, they changed their minds and stayed. They helped me a lot but also they saw foreign people for the first time. And what is more important for me they saw me speaking foreign languages and felt proud for their son. As for me, I am also glad to have an opportunity to show different people what real Russia is.? I am really glad that I was involved in this experience with French and German tourists.
If I lived in a perfect world where everyone could choose a job just upon a wish I would choose to be a guide. That’s an amazing way for people from all over the world to explore real Russia, real Siberia, real Krasnoyarsk. Just a few examples. Tourists from France were shocked to see how much work does my family in our dacha. They thought that we hired some workers. They saw for the very first time how did peas grow and tried to eat it fresh. For me, it was a great opportunity to explore my life from another side. And I hope to continue our cooperation.
Thanks to Katya and Mikhail for sharing their memories and impressions of spending time together with our guests. We believe that such experience when you have an opportunity to spend time with locals is the most precious and brings you knowledge and feeling of what real country is about away from stereotypes created by media or politics.
When taking a Trans-Siberian Railway tour, make sure you visit Siberian dacha!
For more specific information re the most scenic railway rides in the world check our Essential guide for Trans-Siberian Railway trip.