We arrived in Perm on the Baikal train. Whilst in Perm we stayed with a lovely girl from the CouchSurfing community. We had three things we wanted to see whilst in Perm and all of them were nowhere near the city centre. The girl we stayed with organized for a family friend to be our driver for the two days we were in Perm as she worked out that would be cheaper than us paying for official tours. We of course paid the driver for his services.
We first went to the Kungur Ice Caves which are about 90 kilometres south-east of Perm. The cave tour was in Russian so our friends had to translate for us. The underground passages of the caves stretch for 6,000 metres and there are many grottos to stop and look at. Although it was summer the temperature in the cave was about -5 degrees Celsius. Apparently it can go as low as -35 degrees in winter. It cost us 400 roubles each for our entrance fees. We had lunch at a café at a nearby hotel.
From there we drove to the Belaya Gora Monastery. This is also known as White Mountain Monastery. The monastery is about 120 kilometres south of Perm. It is the largest monastery in the Urals. It has been extensively damaged over the years and has been under restoration since 1993. It will be a long time yet before it is finished. Despite that fact, it is a stunning place to visit. It is out in the middle of some very scenic countryside and the 360 degree view from the monastery is astounding.
The next day we went to Perm 36. It is located in Kutchino, a small village located about 100 kilometres from Perm in a north-easterly direction. This place used to be the most feared gulag in Russia. Here they housed so-called "enemies of the state" such as those who dared to advocate human rights and those who opposed communism. Political prisoners were kept there until its closure in 1987. Perm 36 is now a museum. It is an important but very sad place to visit. It broke out hearts to be there and realize how the poor prisoners were treated.
We left Perm that evening on an overnight bus to Kazan. It took 13 hours over extremely rough roads and was a hellish journey.
Anyone who wants to know more or see photos can take a look at our web site here: railway-train-travel.com.au/train-trip-trans…