Vodka good da!
Trip Start Jun 03, 2007
24Trip End Jul 28, 2007
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First impressions of Russia are not good. Generally a very poor looking place covered in pollution and everything is dead! All the cars are souped up Lada's. When I say souped up I mean they have tinted windows, big exhausts and HUGE rear wings (usually made of wood)
Loads of cars have been parked up on the side of the road for 'repair' although if anyone can repair these they'ed be miracle workers.
The fork seals on the bike have been destroyed by the roads! surprised they lasted this long.
Since leaving Murmansk we have had to free camp twice. Not the most pleasant experience. I'm told there are bears in the forest. Would be fine if there were beers in the forest. Mossies are the worst I've ever seen. Big as houses they were. To get from the bikes to put tents up in the middle of nowhere in the rain, freezing cold up hill both ways with no shoes with them big mossies chasing you around was the hardest mission yet. We looked like bee keepers with our mosquito nets on.
Nobody got much sleep (except Naomi) as they were busy listening out for people coming off road to rape and pillage.
We did get one night in a cabin while seeing the Slovoviski Islands. The ferry had a capacity of maybe 20 although there were at least 300 people on this barge.Turns out there wasn't much there apart from a few monks in a monastery. Northern Russia hasn't quite got the hang of this tourism thing yet. There are no signs. Not even to let you know where the info office is. Usually shops are hidden behind planks of wood holding the buildings together.
Tried to get a second night in the cabin but they were booked out and the bike decided that now would be a brilliant time not to go...again. Danny showed the bmw his sad face then his angry face which did the trick. So we had to ride until we found something. After sitting at the railway crossing for 1 hour to leave 'town' we tried to find somewhere nice to free camp but the mossies where back and the rain started coming down really hard so it was decided that we ride all night (although the sun was still giving us some light.) At about 3am Danny and Becky were just as wet on the inside of their jackets and boots as they were on the outside and the cold was getting worse. Time to stop again in the mossie infested forests. And I'm still looking for beers in the woods.
7am and we were back on the road. They'll dry out faster at speed.
The roads are improving slightly although Danny was so tired he almost hit a cow....again! More fear of it bouncing off the oncoming truck onto him.
We arrived at St Petersberg late afternoon looking at the 'you are here' sign trying to figure out where 'here' was, when a funny looking Russian pulled over to offer his help. He was told we wanted the Nevski district for hotels. This guy was crazy. We followed him over wet tram line (trecherous to bikes) through red lights and to the Moscow Hotel where everybody parted way for us. We parked right infront of the security office. Turns out that Michael our Russian angel is rather well known in these parts. He has organised the bikes to be repared while we visit Moscow later in the week for a very reasonable price. Michael and his fellow mafia (Alex and Valeri) took us to dinner with vodka and told us some Russian secrets. Rule one is don't stop for the police. Rule two is there are two words that are irrelivant in Russia. 'road' and 'rules'
He also told us that all the maps are wrong (as we had discovered) due to the government had changed the longitude and latitude measuements by a few degrees back in the old days to confuse the americans while bombing russia. These days the Russians just put George Bush in power and that is plenty of confusion for everybody.
St Petersburg is very cosmopolitan and the girls dont wear bras and have long belts for skirts and very long legs!!! Jared and Gavin, this place out does Stolkholm by a very long (leg) stretch.
The people here are fantastic. Extremely friendly and most speak some level of English which was a nice surprise.Everything seemed to change from about 20 miles north of St Petersburg where the older ladas etc.. changed to Lexis, Nissan (Infinity) and anything non Russian. Quite different from what we experienced in the north.
I would recommend This place to absolutly anybody.
After spending three days in St Petersberg seeing the sights and drinking with our new Russian friends we are to take the overnight train to Moscow while our bikes are repaired.
See you in Moscow.