The ups and downs and last minute changes


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Europe » Russia
May 28th 2012
Published: June 21st 2017
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Geo: 43.0367, 44.6678

Getting into Russia, despite all the trepidation about whether or not border crossings were open to foreigners went like clockwork. Mr Grumpy the driver was there on the dot of 9 taking advice from the hotel receptionist that the taxi into Russia would want roubles, not Georgian lari, so a quick stop at the money changer and we were on our way. 3 hours exactly to Kazbegi and surrounded by mountains again. The drivers contact in Kazbegi had a taxi waiting and 5 minutes saw us on our way. After Kazbegi, the part of the military Highway I had not yet seen, the road clung to the cliff, often perched on spindly looking concrete columns, as it wound through a very narrow gorge. It only took 15 minutes to reach the Georgian border post and a problem, not mine but the driver. He was driving a Russian registered car and using a Georgian passport and there was some issue which he argued about and the attractive border guard lady spoke to him quite sternly.. The driver told me it was computer problem but we had to wait a while, she looked curiously at my passport but stamped me out with no questions. 5 minutes down the road (which went through two tunnels, I wonder who maintains them?) at the Russian border it was just as easy, the lady there even spoke some English.
So Russia, here I am.
Another twenty minutes or so to Vladikavkaz and I was dropped at the railway station. Using the translations I had already prepared and the ones my Georgian guide wrote out I quickly got the ticket to Rostov and cancelled my ticket from Sochi to Rostov, not needed because of not going through Abkhazia, but discovered no space on 30 May train Rostov to Kiev. As I have to be there by the 31st to meet Liz that means taking the train on the 29th, so I arrive Rostov at 6.45 in the morning and leave again at 9pm. Fortunately data roaming works in Russia so I found a money machine that works, had lunch in the restaurant closest to the station, Chinese!, and am now waiting for my 17:53 train (why 17:53? What's wrong with 17:50?) and emailing hotels to make cancellations and//or change dates.
No pics yet, sorry

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