Archive for May 31st, 2008

May 31 2008

Friendly Russia

Published by under World Tour 2008

Friendly staff in Russian village canteen
Friendly staff in Russian village canteen

In Rostov a lot of people told us that Russia is a dangerous country and that cycling alone was a very bad idea. However we’ve felt completely safe since we left the big city for the small villages. On the road everyone waves back at us with a smile and whenever we stop people aren’t afraid to come for a chat and ask the usual questions. Even shopkeepers are friendly! Yesterday we stopped in what we thought was a cafe but it was in fact the village canteen. They gave us drinks, food, and we left with a bag full of doughnuts. That same day someone gave Olivier a small Russian flag to add to his bike trailer. So far a lot of people have mistaken the French flag for the Russian one, they won’t have any excuse now!

Russian countryside near Salsk
Russian countryside near Salsk

Tonight we have been invited by a Chechen familly in a small village called Solenoye (Соленое) in Kalmykia. (Show on Google Maps) This was a relief for Olivier as he only has a hammoc and trees start to become scarce in this region. Olivier’s tent was stolen in Ukraine and in Rostov he didn’t buy a new one, thinking he could do without for the next couple of months. He is now regretting his decision, especially since Southern Russia is much wetter than Southern Ukraine!

A few minutes before the deluge
A few minutes before the deluge

Every day we play cat and mouse with large storms and we sometimes have to push the bikes through thick mud. On the other hand the paved roads are much better than in Ukraine and the South-Westerly wind has been very favorable so it’s easy to make up for lost time once we’re back on the main roads.

A lot of people we see in Kalmykia have asian features, Kazakhstan isn’t too far now!

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