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Europe » Russia » South » Sochi January 19th 2015

January 18 The visit to Russian Olympic Rosa Khutor Skiing Resort was a substitute for my two Alps plans. It was due to, on the one hand, to the dropping ruble, and on the other hand due to lack of work so I didn’t manage to earn enough money. I studied the official website of Rosa and found it to be quite a high-quality place for skiing. I invited my friend Alexei for a week trip there. The currency exchange rate was absolutely not important in case of Rosa – I paid just exactly what it cost, while almost any European trip has become twice as expensive. On January 18 I got up at 5 o’clock in the morning. My departure from St. Petersburg to Sochi by Aeroflot Airlines was at 8-45. I saw the huge ... read more
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Europe » Russia » South » Grozny December 6th 2014

In the beginning it was equally difficult to decide to go to Chechnya. The day before there was an attack committed by opponents of Kadyrov. It was a moment hesitate if it really was the right time. Done anyway! Along while hitchhiking from pyotigarsk to Grozny helped the Ossetian man in the first picture me with a lift. Which he not only brought me to Vladikavkaz but also ordered food (picture 2) and even bought credit for my phone. (Even i'd indicated, that it was not necessary) From Pyotigarsk we went first to the city Vladikavkaz in Ossetia. Then I had to pass Ingushetia after i arrived the Chechen region. Everywhere there was control. Also i was in a strange place were mostly men had long beards. Where you sometimes just could scare. This place was ... read more
Ossetian pie
On the way to Chechnya
The small boarder in Chechny were militarys standing

Europe » Russia » South » Stavropol December 2nd 2014

The story began when a Couchsurfing host in Stavropol asked me if i would tell my great travel story on the radio. Because this hoster was surprised about my trip he also wanted me to interview and share the story on his blog.. What we already had done at the same day.. He put the story on his Instagram page in Russian language: http://instagram.com/p/wEA5OttEaK/?modal=true And of course i wanted to give a interview on a radio station:)) I would not miss this:)) And decided to tell my story in the Russian Radio station Europa Plus. After a warm welcome by the staff at the radio station began my interview. With my host friend Andrew that was also with me translating my story trip to the Russian language. The Dj asked how I started this trip since ... read more

Europe » Russia » South » Astrakhan August 10th 2014

Arrived about noon after 450km jolly from Volgograd 5hrs, stated early before heat, bike says 39C. Now 5000km on clock, over halfway to China. Mix of cultures here, more Muslim as U go into Kazakhstan. Road here was good - few potholes, with little traffic early Sunday, but countryside is flat and bare, towns very few, fuel stops every 50ks but wizzed past (500k range on Safari tank), 2..3 lakes or is river Volga, but water level well down, 2..3 herds (not many for distance covered) of sheep or cattle pushed about by shepherd - some lose on road too. Stay Park inn, tall so easy to find, not cheapest £60 one night, but did print my stuff and map to Iran consulate instantly, good view from 9th floor, with strong internet link, might get video ... read more
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Europe » Russia » South » Volgograd August 7th 2014

Left Moscow Wednesday, two long days on bike, 450km or more, easy if roads are good, but slow in heavy traffic and bumpy roads. The cafes well what can I say - don't take more than sheets loo roll or U will get grief! Tambor - Bastion hotel was nice, good sauna suits, we had basic version with meat and potatoes for supper - served in room. Fixed puncture in spare tube, but re-tie of tent was inadequate, it let go & jambed back wheel at 60mph, skid was no fun we were lucky. Then bike refused to start in Vologorad while looking for hotel all in a rather long day. Volograd, Kristine Hotel was brill, big outdoor pool with diving board, lots of sunshine, with small shop nearby. Volograd, Lady with sword "The Motherland Calls", ... read more
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Europe » Russia » South » Volgograd October 31st 2013

Firstly, apologies on how late and rushed this one is. The next will be better, I promise! I arrived in Volgograd mid-afternoon on Tuesday and walked to my hostel on Heroes Alley. Volgograd is probably better known to history buffs as Stalingrad, but before Stalingrad it was called Tsaritsyn, 'Yellow River'. Founded in about 1589 to guard Russia's southern boundary, Tsritsyn was also a trading port. Although it was only named 'Stalingrad' for 39 years, this is the name most people recognise. The Battle of Stalingrad had a devastating effect on the city and the people. I visited Mamaev Kurgan (Hill 102) and the Battle of Stalingrad Museum. Mamaev Kurgan is a monument to the battle and the museum is, well, a museum dedicated to the battle. At Mamaev Kurgan I was given a guided tour ... read more
A soldier on the wall
An Eternal Flame
Factory damaged by the battle

Europe » Russia » South » Sochi September 22nd 2013

Sochi, Russia I am beginning to think that I may never get to Russia. For the second time circumstances have blocked me from entering. The crossing from Trabzon was rough. The wind picked up just as we headed north across the Black Sea and at times it rained heavily. I love the sea when it is rough because I really get to experience the power of nature. It also makes for good sleeping. Not all my shipmates share my enthusiasm. It definitely makes for quieter and less crowded dining in the dining room. In the morning it became clear that there were problems ahead. First the Russians had informed the ship that the port was being reconstructed in anticipation of the Olympic Winter games set to start later this winter. Therefore we would have ... read more

Europe » Russia » South » Astrakhan August 16th 2013

First serious off road driving The area between Liman and Astrakhan was sandy, I think it was part of the seabed of the Caspian and the lovely tarmacked road disappeared and it turned into a white single lane sandy track. For the first time on this trip, I was able to take the car off-road and drive it hard. The E119 still appeared as a purple line on my SatNav, but on the road it was just a sandy dirt track surrounded by flat featureless and desolate landscape. The area was also quite windy because it was beside the Casian sea. For four hours I was driving on this white sandy stuff and occasionally hitting large puddles of muddy water. I was amazed by the Mercedes G wagon's ability to handle itself off-road. Until now the ... read more
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Europe » Russia » South » Astrakhan August 15th 2013

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 ... read more
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Europe » Russia » South » Vladikavkaz August 14th 2013

I am now located in Russia with the Caspian sea to my right and the Black sea to my left. This morning I set the SatNav for a city called Astrakhan so that I can head to the Russia - Kazakhstan border crossing. So I headed Northwest on the E117 until it reached E50 somewhere between Georgiyevsk and Mineralnye Vody. Halfway through my journey I was stopped by the local Police in a blue and white Lada to check my documents and the contents of my car. After 10 minutes of talking to me in Russian and I replied with my blank ‘I don’t know what you are talking about’ expression, they finally let me continue my journey. I had to be very polite to them because they were not carrying pistols but Kalashnikovs, automatic rifles ... read more
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