Severnaya Dvina embankment, Arkhangelsk; north-west Russia, close to the Arctic Circle.
To my left: the path beside the Severnaya Dvina river, which led me to the town’s timber port, buried in the snow, then to Svyato-Troitskaya church, then the bridge over the river.
Behind me: the town of Arkhangelsk – the pretty wooden buildings of Chumbarova-Luchinskogo street, so very Russian, with mothers pushing prams along the snowy, bumpy street, past pharmacies and craft shops; and the cafe that I ran to for blinchiki, and to escape from the freezing cold.
In front of me: the northern bank of the Severnaya Dvina, in the distance beyond the frozen, snowed-over river.
And around me: a true Russia winter – tranquil, silent, pure.