Most people only know about Siberia from the novels of Fyodor Dostoevsky, in which he recounts his time spent re-learning his concept of Russian identity at the invitation of the government of the time. While Dostoevsky was able to take inspiration from his time in Siberia to write his critically acclaimed tome Notes from the Underground, for many Siberia has maintained a position in the common collective imagination as a cold and isolated region.
This has all changed with the expansion of the Trans-Siberian railway, and facilitated the most popular Trans-Siberian tours. Now, Europeans and Americans especially are jumping at the opportunity to experience life beyond the commonly expected parts of Russian life - Moscow, Red Square and fun-loving Russian folk, to get a taste of the festivals in previously unexpected places.
The Tashkent Bard Festival
One such example is the Tashkent bard festival. The exit destination here is almost 5,000km into the Trans-Siberian railway, but it is worth the wait. There is nothing quite like it on earth. Here you will see some of the finest bards and entertainers from across Russia and the world, coming together for the equivalent of their World Cup.
Even local enthusiasts often travel for days just to be there for the initial sign up ceremony. The honour of being a champion bard is one that it is hard to put into words.
For many Europeans, the bard festival is a lively celebration in a musical journey, as they weave through the nation on a train made for luxurious abandonment and whimsical expression of the self. The people of Tashkent always enjoy meeting fellow European visitors, and they show great endearment from the locals, for whom this is their major source of income.
A Rite of Passage
Tourists arriving at this time boost the local economy by around 90%, and this three-day event, which happens every year, is a rite of passage for many performers, artists, singers, musicians, and other individuals, who dream of one day of making it big in the entertainment industry. These days are filled with concerts, performances, and more!
Trophies of victories and plaques of appreciation are displayed in the city centre, and you should definitely go to see it when visiting this wonderful location. The prestigious hall is visited daily by wishful people of all genders and ages, each hoping to gain some luck. In time, they hope that their name will be there, displayed in the hallowed halls.
In conclusion, there are numerous places for you to visit on a tour like this, but keep your eyes peeled for the off-beat little events dotted all over the line, these will be the ones that you remember and tell your grandkids about in the decades to come. The cost has never been cheaper to experience the kind of adventure that you have surely always dreamed about.
There is always a reason to delay until tomorrow what could be done today, but rarely is the reason legitimate when you consider what you may be missing. Try telling Tashkent locals that you have better things to do with your time, and they will set your thinking along a clearer and more succinct path no doubt.