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Published: July 15th 2012
I left Siberia last Friday and have spent the last couple of days in Kazan, capital of Russia's Tatar Republic
. It is a very nice city and blazing hot at the moment.
$US ≈ 33p. (Russian rubles)
Казань Kazan Accommodation and food
Stayed at Tatyana's Day booked through hostels.com for the low price of 350p.in a dorm with only 2 other people. It was supposed to include breakfast but we had to settle for just tea. WiFi is intermittent. The location was far from the center but it is a 5-10 minute walk to the nearest metro station which zips to the center in a few minutes for 15p. Near the hostel is Dobraya Stolovaya which is ridiculously cheap but closes early Saturday and is not open at all on Sunday. No prob as right around the corner is the illegibly named cafe labeled 'фаст фуд,' or fast food. Transport
Metro is necessary if staying at Tatyana's precluding a 45 minute walk to the Kremlin. Arrived by plane from Novosibirsk via Moscow at 3 am Saturday morning and waited a few hours at the airport for the airport bus. Transport to Prospekt Pobedy was 38p. including baggage
and took ~45 minutes. From there hop on the metro to the center or beyond. Leaving Kazan I will take the train tomorrow departing at 5:00 pm for Volgograd arriving the next day at 4:08 pm. Long trip but cheap; fare in platskart is 1,438p. Казань Кремль (Kazan Kremlin)
Much to check out at the Кремль (fort) even without the tour which costs 350-400p. per person depending on group size. The tours are in Russian so I skipped it. Entry to the grounds is free but there is a 30p. charge for climbing one of the towers and ~100p. to see both levels of the museum.
I did not see the big deal about Tomsk. Nice town but not much to do. Accommodation and food
Spent 3 nights at Taiga Hostel, 350p. for a bed in an 8 person dorm which never had more than 3 people sleeping in it. No kitchen which was odd and there was a microwave in the dorm which would stink up the room whenever someone used it. Lots of places to eat in the center including Cafe Kovchak and the French boulangerie in the нижний гастроном
(lower grocery). Closer to the hostel is a stolovaya a few blocks toward the center, Klaus Kafe with amazing pastries, and the coffee machine at Центральный Товар (central products, kind of an outside in strip mall) that charged 15p. for an americano. Transport
Arrived at 6:20 am on the overnight train from Barnaul after barely sleeping due to a screaming infant and an overzealous carriage attendant who inexplicably woke me twice - first to inform me that she was locking the bathroom an hour before arrival then again to tell me to roll up the mattress and take off the sheets. Easy transport between the bus/train stations and center. Leaving Tomsk I took the direct bus to Tolmachyovo Airport in Novosibirsk (much better flight selection and price than from Tomsk), 5 hours and 549p., 5 or 6 trips per day and also stops at Novosibirsk's main train station.
Almost a mandatory stop between Altai and other regions in Siberia or Russia. Accommodation and food
I had the fortune of being able to stay in the train station resting room. I wanted to try it out because I'm planning on doing the same
for my 24 hour stop in Volgograd Tuesday night. I had to show my train ticket to Tomsk and my Altai Republic visa registration. A bed in a 4 person shared room was 650p. and a shower was 50p. extra. It was definitely more expensive than I thought it would be. There is a hostel at the Tourist Hotel where beds are 400p. but it was full. Another budget option is Altai Hotel where a single is 650-1200p. depending on whether you want your own bathroom. The latter 2 options are a ways from the train/bus stations so the resting rooms (комнаты отдыха) are very convenient if staying in Barnaul only to catch a train. 12 hour stays are a bit more than half price and there are also couches to crash on in the station mezzanine for 220p. for 24 hours but it was noisy. I ate my few meals near the station at the Russian Railways office stolovaya. Good coffee machines in the bus terminal and free WiFi at the nearby cinema. There is also a Cinnabon of all weird, obscure chains. Transport
Caught the bus from Gorno-Altaisk to Barnaul for 510p., 4 hour trip with a
Mosque Inside the Kremlin
Kazan has always had a significant Muslim population.
pit stop halfway where there is also a shashlyk stand.
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