Archive for the ‘ Russia ’ Category

Krasnoiarsk, Siberia

Krasnoiarsk, Siberia [View all the pictures]

This is (the hand of) Irina, our host in Krasnoiarsk

Because of the rains, they’ve fully opened this damn for the first time in 20 years. I it was a quite impressive show. One interesting fact about this damn is that its picture is in the 10 rubles note.


Moscow: take me, to the magic of the moment, on a glory night

Moscow, Russia [View all the pictures]

We arrived to Moscow. Our host Natasha was extraordinarily kind with us.
The first thing we wanted to do is to play one song on the guitar, on the red square . A song that I’ve been listening to since I was in primary school. Then, I didn’t know what was Gorky Park, but just sang: “I followed the Moscow, down to Gorky Park”…. Today, I was there. A song that for some Russians may be a “cliché” but for us was really symbolic of one place: Moscow.
We couldn’t belive when we saw it (thanks god we know how to read Cyrillic). Scorpions was going to play LIVE and FREE in Moscow!… where? On the Red Square (thanks to the G8 meeting in Russia). That was a dream that you can only compare with seeing Pink Floyd playing “the wall” in Berlin.
We saw the concert with another 10.000 people or something like that.
I’ve never seen that much policemen in my whole life. The whole city was packed with police and police. But the concert was in just two words, a dream.
Moscow treated us really well… no police hassles… and with good news: we went to have some information in the tourist office where we got the visa invitation and we didin’t have to register in any Russian city. You need to register If you stay for more than 72 “working days” hours, but without counting the day you arrive and the day you leave. Registration implies paying aprox. 30 USD.
The city that we thought that would treat us harder was one of the best and their people really charming.

Spasiva Moscow!

Jammin’ with our train mates…

Rain in Moscow. It was always present in our whole stay.

Massive. The Red Square packed with people.

Scorpions playing “Winds of change”

Rostov “The Great”

Rostov, Russia [View all the pictures]

Yaroslavl: Warm welcome

Yaroslavl, Russia [View all the pictures]

As always: hot, hot and hot. The weather in Russia is extremely hot at these times. And Yaroslavl was not the exception. The first day we had almost 35 C.
It was a nice city. We stayed with Ekaterina. It was an enriching experience, and we lived in a typical Russian neighborhood, 40 minutes from the city center.
We’re starting to “understand” Russia and we like it more and more!…


Vologda, Russia

Volgoda, Russia [View all the pictures]

When you learn to read Cyrillic you start to understand lot of things. Russian is not as complicated as it seems.
This is Rossiia biez Putina, or “Russia without Putin”.

St Pettersburg got shot!

St Pettersburg, Russia [View all the pictures]

The metro station, although as not luxurious as Moscow’s, is a great sample of soviet communist architecture / art.

Legacy from communist times…

This pic was taken by Lechu . I liked it…

Russian Insomnia

Never ending days. Never ending issues. Never ending hassles?
This is about a bad experience.
Not the saddest. That was in Vienna, in a train that took forever things that I’ll always look for.
Pressure from the police: asking for bribes to tourist and for registration in the city (some soviet legacy, where you have to go to the OVIR (tourist police) to register in a city when you’re more than 72 hours in it),a thing we didn’t do just because we don’t want to spend that much money is said to be common in Russia.
This was a plus for my nerves. But the trigger of my bad mood was the Russian trains.
Russians don’t speak English. No English at all. None. It’s really hard to make yourself understand here… I like adventure, but sometimes… just sometimes… I just want things the easy way.
And trains are hard to get. And we’re planning to do like 10000 km on train. A quarter of the world in one trip: the famous Tran Siberian train. We tried to take several tickets, several options, but they didn’t get it. We had to learn Cyrillic to try to understand. Anyway, we didn’t get the tickets we wanted to. We just gave the paper saying ‘one ticket to XXX’ to the girl on the counter; she gave the paper back and said -“niet!”.
So we finally spent our second day in Russia just making queues, going to the bus station, train station, making calls and starting to feel more and more worried.
We also spent the night doing online researching and looking for tickets. On our third day we didn’t sleep at all. We just stayed on the internet looking for your tickets. All our tickets because as we noticed, cheap tickets are really hard to find..
So we finally made lot of options, combinations, we look for our Tran Siberian train and how to get to Mongolia.
On the other day god helped us a little bit more: we got the tickets. We did our homework in a flawless way. But the Mongolia ticket was not there yet. The only one left… we’re going to do the Tran Siberian train soon but we can’t find that trip in particular.
Anyway, we should be happy. We managed to do little ‘technical scales’, and with tips and tricks we managed to get our Tran Siberian (or Trans Mongolian) tickets for about 100 euros. The average is more than 200 and tour companies can sell them at even 600 – 1000 euros.
So now I feel more ‘realized’ though we still don’t know how we’ll get out of Russia. We’re just going to the Russian border with Mongolia.
But crossing is not as easy as it seems. Scams, corruption, policeman stealing, trying to get something from tourists and eternal customs border waiting (4 hours minimum until 8 hours just waiting for your passport, visa checks, registration checks, etc) transform going out from Russia an Epic adventure. We know how that works. But it’s not easy.
It was just a not so warm welcome on the beautiful yet still communist (from my point of view) St Petersburg. We also had good experiences there. And we know all the plazas, squares, or whatever they called them: we’ve been sleeping in them all…