Krasnodar

Trip Start Mar 19, 2013
1
Trip End Mar 27, 2013


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Where I stayed

Flag of Russia  , South Russia,
Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I've always wanted to go to Russia so when I got the chance to spend a week here on business, I wasn't going to say no. I did get extremely apprehensive in the days running up to the trip and all I could think as I was landing in Krasnodar (a region where almost no-one speaks any English) was how much I wanted the plane to turn back and fly back to London. Most people think that the entire of Russia is freezing cold in March but thankfully I have managed to come to the one region that is actually quite mild this time of year, with temperatures generally staying well above zero. Doesn't mean it's sunny though! In fact, the reason I decided to start this blog is due to boredom brought on by the horrible wet and windy weather in Sochi at the moment.

So Krasnodar.... first impressions were that it was quite different to how I expected. Being the capital city of the region of Krasnodar Krai, I expected it to be a lot more built up. Travelling by taxi from the airport (once I had managed to avoid being bundled into an unmarked "taxi" by two old men who didn't speak any English) I noticed that a lot of the roads were dirt tracks and a large proportion of the Krasnodarians appear to have kept their rickety Soviet era cars. I now understand why everyone at home told me to avoid getting in Russian cars!

The hotel was fine, but as soon as I got there I realised that there was no internet connection in my room, my work phone did not make calls and the work laptop did not have any sound for playing DVDs. Needless to say, I woke up after my first night's sleep feeling like I didn't want to get out of bed and face my first day at work in Russia. However, after a hearty Russian breakfast in the hotel of cold meats, cheeses, bread and eggs, I felt a lot better.

Russian food has proved so far to be quite tasty. A highlight in Krasnodar had to be the meat and potato filled pastries (Pirozhki) we had for lunch one day, although I would describe it more as a greasy doughnut style bread, rather than our understanding of crispy or flakey pastry. Absolutely delicious!! There's been a lot of slabs of meat, with some potatoes or buckwheat, but my intake of fruit and vegetables has not been substantial.

I quickly realised what a good idea it was to buy a Russian phrase book before I came, as there was no way I would get by in Krasnodar without it. I've now learnt the essentials including beer, water and "coffee without milk". Not knowing how to say the latter of these meant I spent a few minutes at breakfast on the first day gesturing at a speaker in the corner of the room to try and say I wanted it black.

My three days in Krasnodar were generally uneventful as they were mainly occupied by work. There were a number of times where I was sitting in meetings with Russian business men and women thinking how unreal it all was. It's particularly interesting hearing how surprised Russian women are that I am not married and have no children, at the age of 23. As far as I can tell, most of them married between the ages of 18 and 22 and proceeded to have children immediately after. Personally I'd rather do it the British way! 

After some problems paying for the hotel (mainly due to outdated Russian payment systems) we left Krasnodar for Sochi on Friday evening.... and so the adventure continues!
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