SIBERIA – why go there?

SIBERIA – why go there?

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I met some friends at Langnes airport (Tromsø, Norway), who asked me where I was heading. I heard myself say; I am on my way to Siberia.

To Siberia?

– Isn´t it cold, in Siberia?

– What the hell are you going to do in Siberia?

It seemed to be the silliest idea ever, and the most remote place to go to. It might was?

For what did I know?

I could recall memories, possibly from school, where we were told that prisoners were sent to Siberia. It was extremely cold in Siberia, it was like the worst place on earth to be sent to. For a prisoner. And here am I, on my way to Siberia. Completely voluntary!

After a short stop in Oslo and a few hours in Moscow, I stared out the window from Aeroflot and landed in Krasnojarsk 28 hours after I left Tromsø. It was five in the morning, my paraglider had arrived (Wiiiii!) and Karinka met me outside the airport. Her husband wanted to carry my wing, and from then on I didn´t carry it at all. Karinka introduced me to all our plans, she told me about the PG competition down south and a trip to their cabin. Strange noices disturbed our plans, we were half way to Krasnojarsk, and the car broke down.

You should just go to sleep, and we will make some new plans, Karinka said. I was easy to convince after such a long travel. And in my mind, I said to myself; Well, this is excactly what I have to expect – this is my welcome to Russia!


Doors slammed and all of a sudden we were rolling again, towed after Alexandr. While I catched up some sleep, they managed to fix the car and we headed straight to the first stop; Their cabin.

– We only go here when it is raining, Karinka said. If the weather is good, we always work. We arrived at a small timbercabin in the middle of the forest, surronded by other cozy cabins. Wineglasses were filled. The girls were standing on the porch laughing, while the men chopped wood, prepared food and grilled our dinner. I could easily get used to this life!


A year ago I met Karinka at VAKE (Varanger Arctic Kite Enduro). I was filming, and she was one of the competitors. At the final party we realized that we had paragliding in common, and since then, we have been following eachother on Facebook. In 2015 I met her again, and I shared the table with Russians again. I told Karinka, I really liked her pictures from Siberia, and I would love to visit. She imidiately answered; You should come! You are welcome!

I started to plan, and Karinka told me the weather were more predictable in June than in May. Shortly after, I had booked my tickets – to Siberia. And here I was.

On my way to Hakasia, about 400 kilometers south of Krasnojarsk. The roads were sometimes more bumpy than in Northern Norway, but mostly good. We went trough a nice valley, trough some heavy forest and out to the wide open steppelandscape and we had a lovely sunset just before Karinka said; Soon we are there… I didn´t see any roadsigns, or campsite-signs – in fact, I saw nothing. Pavel drove off the road, into the darkness, into the widerness. I really wondered where we were going…and I understood I was on a real adventure!


When the morning broke, it was windy. Pavel wanted to show his students proof for why they didn´t want to fly, and took them to launch. Some heavy clouds, increasing wind and incoming showers, stopped them from asking why. Even the force of all of us, couldn´t stop the weather. In the evening it had cleared up, and we had our first flights from the mountain behind the campsite. I ran off, I was extremely excited, and took the first thermal to cloudbase. Karinka followed, and we were just on top of everyone enjoying ourselves. We laughed and hugged when we landed, this was what I came for!

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It was seven in the evening, and we decided to go up for an another flight. Karinka promised Magic air. And it was pure magic! We could just stay up forever, have calm and relaxing hours in the air, take pictures and enjoy Magic Siberia. I was so happy when I landed, I felt like I could hug the whole world!

The vodka I was served that evening didn´t make me less happy. I told a lot of great fishingstories from Norway, and some of the guys were amazed by my fishermanskills. It is kind of difficult to translate “haill” to both English and Russian, but I think the young man Seriosa did it. We had some great fun! A bunch of fresh garlic, wich were dipped in salt, was our snack next to the vodka. We all smelled like no mosquito wanted to taste our blood after a few vodkas. Poor Karinka who did go to bed early, and had to smell my breath that night.

Flying in Siberia, is diverce. In Hakasia we stayed next to some hills (300 m), but mostly it was flying in the flatlands. Unfortunately that is not what I am used to, and even how much I gutsed – I wasn´t saved by a bird or a lucky thermal – I landed. In the middle of nowhere. In 30 degreece Celcius. What to do? Trollolo…wish I had a beer! I just packed my glider, walked to the road, and sat down. Someone would probably find me?


The birds in the forest were disturbed, they cacled even worse than me the night before. Could it be…that it might was…some kind of animal, in the forest? I stared, and I admit, I was a bit worried. And extremely happy, when a car finally stopped, and the guys wanted me to jump in. They didn´t know any English, I didn´t understand Russian, I just hoped they would take me back to the camp. A few kilometers later, we picked up an another pilot. He spoke some English. – Why did you choose to go to Siberia, he asked.

– Why not? It seemed to be as shocking to them, as to my Norwegian friends. Then he asked me if I had seen any bears in Siberia. He had seen a bearshit, and was a bit frightened. I told him that I was more conserned about the Siberian Tigers. They all laughed, they had never heard of Siberian Tigers in Siberia!


The first day at the campsite my eyes catched sight of one paragliderpainting on the wall of the “restaurant”. It was painted by Evgeny Podshibyakin, the man who owned the site. I told Karinka I was so found of the picture, that I had been thinking about it the whole night. Later I understood that I should never have said so, cause then they started to work out a plan of how to buy it, get it and give it to me. The last night at the camp Evgeny brought the painting to the campfire, with the intention of giving it to me. By then I also understood denying to accept the gift would be even worse. I was so grateful. Evgeny said if his art was sent to Norway, he could consider himself as an international painter. I will give him all the honour I can, and I really hope the picture will arrive from Krasnojarsk before my HELT I HUNDRE weekend in August. For those who are not coming, this is a sneak peak…


Back in Krasnojarsk we hoped to go flying, if not paragliders, then maybe balloon. The weatherforecast said too windy, and the men took off to check it out themselves. We were picked up, and they drove a few kilometers out of town. It wasn´t that windy, was it? A young romantic couple showed up, and Pavel took them for a flight. I´d never flown a balloon before, and was kind of skeptic. It could catch fire, or what? I posted a picture full of doubt on Facebook, and asked SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO? Off course I had already made up my mind. I do what I have the chanse to do. So when Pavel landed, and the young romantic couple left the basket – Karinka and I jumped in. It was a strange feeling when we slowly left the ground, and flew between trees in the quietness, just looking at eachother with a great big grin in our faces.



– Who else than Guro Saniola Bjerk flies Aeroflot and takes her holiday in Siberia?


Russia and Siberia is not what you think

I had my ideas of what Russia and Russian was like. I was just slightly coloured by Television, news and rumors. From my arrival and until I left Krasnojarsk, I actually didn´t carry my paraglider anywhere. The men took it. I didn´t make any food, the men prepared it all, and grilled it. (Whats all this fuzz about equality in Norway, this is the way we like to be treated!) I didn´t see anyone drunk, except for my own funny face in the mirror after eating garlic dipped in salt and drinking a few vodka´s around the campfire. I didn´t see any Siberian tigers, and no bears. Not even a bearshit. And Siberia is HOT, not cold. I don´t just say that, because I am from the Northpole myself – it was more than 20 degreece Celcius every day. Most days around +30C, and that is quite hot for a frozen soul from iceage.

(This is what I came back to the of June, in Norway…)


Last but not least; I forgot my brand new camera at a resturant at lunchtime. I discovered it just before we were back at home. Pavel turned around right away, and Evgeny picked up the phone, while I was so frustrated and mad at myself, loosing my camera in such a silly way. Off course it would not be there anymore, off course it was stolen – hello, we are in Russia! Again, I was prooved wrong. Evgeny hung up, and told me they found it, they HAD IT THERE! He ran inside, picked it up and gave it back to me – and I was so happy thay I could kiss him. Actually I could kiss the whole Russia. What an amazing feeling! So here you go, lots of pictures and magic moments – from Russia with love!


Heard at the airport:

– While flying with Aeroflot, we stayed on schedule, my bagage were not lost, we had great service and several kinds of food served. Back in Norway we were delayed. We had to wait, and wait, and wait. Everything went slower. People started to moan at the airport. And I told about my satisfaction with Aeroflot, when the Norwegian man next to me said; Off course they are on time, or else they would have been shot. I felt sorry for him, and for all those people out there thinking so much strange and odd about Russia, and Siberia. I felt incredible happy to have been there, to have met the best Siberians, to have this adventurous experience in my life. THANK YOU; Karinka <3 Pavel, Jevgenia, Michail, Alexandr, Natasha, Alexander, Seriosa, Oleg, Dinara, Eirat, the Russian punkrockstar and ALL of you I can´t remember the name of!

I have started to plan next years adventure;

See you in Jurgaki and Turan!

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A few things to remember

  • Make sure you have visitors VISUM.
  • If you are staying longer than 7 days, you need to be registered into the country. You can do that either by spending a night at a hotel, or your friends from Russia can register you in at a postoffice.
  • When you are told to have a shower, you should have a shower. It is either because you stink, or that it is the only opportunity for a proper bath in a few days.
  • Be careful with your LIKES. I told Karina that I really fell in love with a painting made by the owner of the paraglidercamp. From then on, they did what they could, and convinced the painter Evgeny Podshibyakin to give it to me. So now he is an international artist.
  • If you don´t have any expectations, and are prepared for anything, you will have the greatest holiday ever.
  • Say yes to what they offer you – wheter it is food, drinks, garlic, help, shower or banya. Go with the flow!
  • White clothes are not nessesary to bring!