Siberia just goes on and on. Because of its sheer size, winters there really are colder than elsewhere. It has something to do with the Ural mountains and the fact that there's little coastline to moderate the temperatures. There's just so much land with virtually no towns or cities shown on the map. I guess the small settlements - often gulags with forced labour - never got to be given a name on a map. I can find Arkhangelsk - north of St. Petersburg near the White Sea Canal. I can also see Vorkuta - a notoriously harsh gulag. But I can't see the little place near Yaya (just southest of Tomsk) where my mom was sent. In fact, most of the places of my mom's life can't be found anywhere.
Fedorofka, her home village has been renamed Kaliniwka. Koenigsberg, where she spent her teenage years is now Kaliningrad, East Prussia is now Poland and no Yaya. Today, it's no doubt just some leftover barbwire in some bush. Then there's the place where she was sent as POW in 1945 - somewhere in the Ural Mountains - Shadrinsk - I found it! It's on the Iset River.
I must try and keep these places real. I would SO much love to travel by train through Siberia.