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Published: October 1st 2014
Me and my Russian friend, a keen gardener at the ГОСТИНИЦА hotel.
Next morning after breakfast, I met another Russian gentleman who showed me his ‘garden’ beside the car park. He grew some maize, roses and sunflower. He was obviously very proud of his garden chatted to me in his native Russian and I pretended to understand what he was saying. Despite the language barrier, I understood that the man was trying to make friends because so very few foreigners come to this part of Russia. I got the impression the man was a keen and able gardener but lacked the resources to improve the garden. Before I left, I slipped him a few roubles so that he can buy some more seeds to plant in his garden. He was very grateful because I think he had little means of earning an income.
I decided to hit the road early before being spotted by the local police again. The local people were very nice, friendly and very hospitable.
I waved goodbye to my friendly host and set my SatNav for Astrakhan and it took me Northeast towards the Caspian sea. It was another of those long and boring journey through some very quiet and desolate parts of Russia. I arrived at
Not sure whether these Russian beauties from the hotel in Liman were keen to be photographed with me or the car. I think the name badge on the lady to my left says EKATERINA.
a place called ‘Liman’ and started to look for that rare species called ‘hotel’. After spending a lot of time driving around town to look for a hotel, I gave up because so few tourists came here that there was no demand for hotels. I stopped outside a corner shop and tried asking the employees where I could sleep for the night. They tried to give me directions but I could not understand them. Eventually, one of them telephoned someone and asked me to wait. About 20 minutes later, a car appeared and this youngish Russian gentleman came out and spoke good English. He said something like come with me and I will take you to a nice hotel. I followed his car for about 20 minutes through some dark unlit streets and then entered into a residential district and then out of nowhere a hotel appeared. What a surprise.
The room was very dear, costing nearly 2000 ruble or £30 a night. As I was tired and hungry and it was getting very late I accepted the hotel room. I wanted to pay the man for taking me there but it emerged that he was the hotel owner. I ate dinner at the restaurant, showered and went to bed. Next morning, I had breakfast and then set off to my next destination - Astrakhan.
Before I was allowed to leave. I was accosted by 2 very big Russian staff and they insisted on having their photograph taken with my big Jeep in the background, so I obliged them.
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