Poechali World - Welcome to our world, welcome to my world, welcome to my site
My lift-off to my own site
In 2018 I have been in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, to see the cosmodrome where rockets are launched. When I came back to Vienna I decided to launch poechali.world to share my experiences I gathered during my meanwhile numerous journeys and provide my maybe helpful informations and my impressions about the places I have been because many people I meet and get to know and even friends have no idea about them.
Poe-m, poe-t, poech..., poe-what?
For some or maybe most of the visitors of this site I have to explain the expression "поехали". First I want to explain why I preferred the German transliteration of поехали and not the English one. The exact sounding match of the cyrillic "x" is the German "ch". Sure, I am used to the English transliteration "kh" but do not like it that much. So the transliteration of поехали in English is „poekhali" and in German "poechali" and pronounced "pa-jechali", that's the reason.
The first time I heard this word was in fact pretty late. When I was travelling in Kazakhstan in June 2018, my main goal I wanted to reach was Baikonur. I already knew that this city was especially founded and used for conquering and exploring space. For a long time it was a so called "closed city" (even secret) where ordinary people were not allowed to enter - until this day! However, it's easier nowadays and since 2012 it is allowed for foreigners (but also Kazakh people or Russians) to enter but only when coming within a tour provider. As far as I know it's not possible for individuals to go there, except you may have connections.
Because of the tour I got to know the history of the city in detail, which is deeply connected with Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space. At Cosmodrome Baikonur, where in former times Soviet, now most of the Russian but also numerous spacecrafts in collaboration with ESA (European Space Agency) start, I attended the launch of Soyus MS-09 on 6th of June 2018:
It is legend that during the start process of Vostok 1 on 12. April 1961, Korolov, head of the Soviet space programme, told Gagarin: "Preliminary stage... intermediate... main... lift off! We wish you a good flight. Everything is all right".
Gagarin answered and confirmed "Поехали" meaning "Let's go". Since then, this term got a tradition for each start:
- From the very beginning starting with Sputnik in Cosmos on 4th of Octo
- To Yuri Gagarin as the first in Space on 12th of April 1961 and theref
- And the lift-off of Sojuz MS-09 in June 2018
Since my youth I was attracted by and fascinated of the "East". I was more interested in differences than similarities. And in fact we - in the West and regardless of all wars led against each other - share a common history, culture, religion, politics, philosophy, economy and processes in society. So I wanted to learn about the "differences" and what separated "us" from the East and led our ways to the climax of the 2nd World War, how we in the West call it, or "Great Patriotic War" as known in the East (the difference can be found in the "Some more Details" section).
In school I began to choose and work on topics connected with the East and, in questions of ideology, our (after 1991, former) "enemy". I still can remember that, for example, in Geography we got a task for homework to look for a place where people could go on holidays and find out how to get there. As far as I can remember this was around 1993 and I chose Odessa, a place which was at that time a blank spot. I also worked on a presentation about the extension of the Russian territory since the foundation of the Rus' during the centuries. Other topics, mainy in history lessons which was one of my favourites, was a paper about Vladimir Ilich Lenin. When I finished school I wrote a so called "Fachbereichsarbeit" (FBA) which was at that time introduced to get pupils prepared for writing papers in University. The topic I chose was the revolution in Cuba 1959 and the linkage to the Cuba crisis 1962. One of the questions I got to pass the oral examination (Matura) was "Russia - From Democracy to Communism" (retrospectively I would ask now "what? there was Democracy in Russia before Communism?!" ^^):
- One of my first works
- FBA paper titeld The communist takeover in Cuba 1959, written '98
- A specific question was: "Russia - From Democracy to Communism".
However, I started pretty late to travel in the East and expanded my curiousity and courage to explore the region and post-Soviet space step by step. And instead of rushing through as many countries and cities as possible or making ordinary beach and/or only-one-spot holidays, I found my way to travel independently taking as much time as possible to preferably stay in one country and travelling there extensively. Usually I don't have detailed plans except knowing where to start and where to finish but only a rough idea where to go in-between.
2004 I launched my journey in going to the Baltic countries which at that time had recently joined the European Union. Since then some major spots have been my trip in the Russian Federation for 3 months in 2010 and my exploration of the post-Soviet space of Central Asia, specifically Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in 2018, and Japan in the same year. The world I have seen so far:
The best places I have been so far
If you would ask me what places I liked most I would have to split the answer: First in places where I experienced somehow special and unique moments. These were:
- Lake Baikal, on the way from Lystvianka to Bolshie Koty - which I did not reach because I was simply going along without knowing where exactly it is. As I did not know how long it takes to reach, I had to decide after going for couple of hours at one point to return because I had nothing to sleep outside. However, the hike was amazing and I want to go there again. Nature and landscape was so beautiful and going on a wonderful sunny day along a small trail with the mountainous area on the left and a steeply falling slope to the lake on the right was breathtaking and gave me one of my best moments in life!
- Capri Island. Even though visited by lots of tourists, it amazes me how "sheepish" people are. When I arrived by ferry I was afraid because of the many people arriving and those who were already there. But they were only staying in the cities (rather villages) and going in groups led by guides. As soon as you are on your own way you can be alone, even on this small island. And on top of Capri I enjoyed the view and got my special moment.
- Sado Island, Japan. The whole Island is diverse and really beautiful! Going there because of Kodo's "Earth Celebration" event taking place in August, I explored the island in going around but also renting an e-bike following the coast. Getting in contact with Japanese culture, enjoying their architecture and together with the EC-festival it also was a highlight in my life!
They all seem to be connected with water but also hights... It doesn't have to be a mountain but somehow an interplay in having an overview and seeing different sizes. Anyway, there were other moments which were coining me. These were not limited to "beautiful" places but the whole process around, interacting with other people (as a team) and/or animals and the hardships I had to go through. These were:
- My stay in Kamchatka in general and specifically a 5-days tour starting from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and climbing Tolbachik was on one of my hardest days (~3500 m but not the top top with 3600 m because that's only for real professionals)! In addition seeing moonlike and other surreal surroundings. By the way, because of the crater landscape, Soviets trained there for a possible landing on the moon.
- The dog sledding tour in Sweden. Also a 5-days tour, this ride offered a special experience in working with sweet dogs but also working in a team in cold weather and hypnotising snowy landscape.
This closes - for now - the circle from the origin regarding the term for this site, my background and interest for this region and where and how I travel. The expression giving name for this site fits to describe my approach: Poechali.world - Let's Go See The World!