Russia - General


Russia

Next up, it's Russia. Even further away to the east. Unconquerable by the French and Germans, however, the Russians themselves have (of course) also their own history of agression, but who am I to judge? Undoubtedly the most awesome country in the world. Oh, I'm glad I can say that with a straight face, but it's not that bad. I've had the honor of visiting her three times now and I've enjoyed it every time. To be honest, the whole country has a bit of sadness -it's a bit "grey"-, but that's also what makes it appealing. I, at least, think it's a very interesting country and I don't mind spending time there. Now let's see what wikipedia has to say about it (It's still on the page about the winter war). Blablabla 143,5 billion people, large, etc. The landscape is a bit the same as in Europe; there are rolling hills, but also flat areas, forrests, swamps, that sort of stuff. The biggest difference between it and the Netherlands is that our country is a bit more tidy (more clean and green (green grass)); there's a lot of old stuff standing and lying there doing nothing (but of course, if you've got vast expanses of land, you don't have to be so careful with it).

Impression of Russia, Karelia, Russia

Impression of Russia, Karelia area north of Petrozavodsk. Picture taken on 17 June 2013.

Just to give an impression, I've a picture above. Can't leave without saying that the music and movies there are f*cking awesome! Never leave without taking some CD's (Zhanna Friske) and DVD's with you (or cassettes).

Moscow

We visited the capital in februari 2013. This was my first trip outside of West-Europe and the first trip by airplane. It was about three hours flying to get to there. The weather was what you might expect: a lot of snow. In the city you could see people on the roofs, clearing the snow, and on the street as well. The news was warning to not walk to close near buildings because of falling ice/large masses of snow. Right in Moscow, we even saw them shovelling snow into a melter (a container with a burner), which in turn drained into the river. We went to all the standard places you can think of going to when you only have one afternoon (the red square, GUM, and the rest of the surroundings) and we got a good Russian experience (including drunk guys and street-salesmen who now our famous Dutch footbal coach Guus Hiddink).

Impression of Moscow, Russia

Now I need to be original. If you want pictures from all the touristic places you just have to google them. This picture was taken on 5 Februari 2013 as we drove from the factory just outside Moscow back to our hotel.

Thingy in Moscow, Russia

And this is a poor excuse for a roundabout, but I have nothing else. The train playing thing makes up for it. Picture taken on 6 Februari 2013.

Petrozavodsk

During the summer of the same year I came back. The next part of the journey took him from St. Petersburg, by train, to Petrozavodsk ("Peter's factory"). During the boarding of the train me and some other guys from the group where joking around with the stewardess (every wagon has a lady that serves tea, sells food, cleans, etc.), which in this case was a young lady called olga. When the train was departing we were taking our places in the coupe which was holding four people: yours truly, another guy from the group, a Russian guy that went to sleep as soon as the train started moving, and a Chinese lady that came backpacking all the way from Moscow and was heading north). After sharing some drinks and snacks with them, as was the custom in Russian trains according to the Chinese lady's travelling book, they went to sleep. I however couldn't sleep. The bed's in the train are unfortunatley not suited for long people and the light outside made things difficult as well (during summer, the sun doesn't set in the North), so I decided to have a chat with Olga. She was 25 and had a friendly, smiley face that showed a slightly skewed C23 that only made her look more cute. We talked a bit about her and my hobbies and work, the train (I learned that there are differences in the power net and we had to change locomotives two times on the stretch Petersburg-Petrozavodsk), and some other chit-chat. It was not that advanced since she didn't speak English and my Russian isn't bad, but I'm not a pro, but in the end with the help of a dictionairy and google translate we came quite an end. It was a fun way to spend the night. Being awake also allowed me to look at the countryside (it was light outside during the night) and to get some fresh air at all the stops.I was really amazed that some of the places where this train stopped were just dumps with only a few houses around it. And it was not just one time, we had like six stops in the middle of nowhere.

view from trainstation, Russia

This is a good example. At 3 o'clock at night we stopped here. There was a bridge leading over the tracks and from this bridge I could see over the town. There were some flats and that is as far as it goes. We heard some drunk people shouting and Olga said that because there is nothing to do, people just drink. Picture taken on 15 June 2013.

Somewhere in the morning we arrived at Petrozavodsk. I had had no sleep whatsoever and was completely broken (I'm getting old). After we had all said goodbye to olga we left the trainstation to wait for the bus that would bring us to our hotel, a vacation park some 70 km outside of Petrozavodsk. When we arrived there I was so beat I just fell asleep. When I woke up I took a small bus back to Petrozavodsk to take a look around. I thought I heard somewhere that this was the place were Peter the Great used to make cannons during the war with Sweden (that where the name Petrozavodsk comes from ("Peter's factory")), but I could not find any remnants of that time. There was a tractor factory there that is now turned into a museum, but that one was closed. I think that most people come to this place to visit the wooden church at Kizhi island (we also went there). I did come across some interesting roundabouts...

roundabout Petrozavodsk, Russia

Right behind the trainstation you will find this roundabout with a statue of Lenin on it. Near it is a memorial for I guess the second world war. Picture taken on 15 June 2013.

roundabout Petrozavodsk, Russia

And this is one of my all-time favorites. As we were leaving Petrozavodsk by small bus on our way to Murmansk, we came passed this one and I just yelled "stop! stop! stop!" to the driver. In the end I'm very happy I did that. The combination of the roundabout behind the railway crossing makes it very nice momento. Picture taken on 16 June 2013.

Back up :)

St. Petersburg > > >