Entering the largest country of the world I realized it’s not only very large it’s also very empty. Or maybe all Russians were on holidays, no offence either way but this emptiness reminded me of Brandenburg.
Another thing I learned is that in post soviet countries very often shops look like they are closed, even though they’re open. So, it’s always worth a try.
Don’t try to google Popovo, this place doesn’t exist. They just had to build another bus station to pretend there’s actually busses going along that road.
Here you can see all my stuff and a sunset
Russia north of east Ukrain is great for camping, there’s hardly any people and almost no traffic, a very calm place.
This Song I played on river Don, I hope the storm is not to loud on the recording!
East of the east Ukraine it gets very busy. Since nobody wants to go through Lughansk and Donezk all the traffic squeezes through the main that follows the border down to Rostow.
When cycling east of the east Ukraine you don’t have a big choice which road to take because there is only one road and this one is unfortunatelly the highway M4, in Germany we would call it an Autobahn. It pretty much features everthing that isn’t fun to cycle: it’s loud, it’s ugly, it’s quite dangerous, it’s dirty, it feels like smoking two pack of cigarettes per day, there is no shadow at all and the street is just straight going up and down all the time. I could see the planes makeing the same circle around the eastern Ukrain that I did. So, thanks for the experience but next time I’d probably hop on a truck and skip this, I had lots of offers because the truck drivers were as bored as I was.
Nevertheless I had some nice encounters along the road. I found out that whenever people asked if I’m carrying a guitar in that bag and I offered to play a song they were so super happy and thankful that I believe it was worth the effort.
Also I realized that since Russia is not changing the clocks to summertime anymore the sun rises at 4.30am and sets already around 8pm which made me set the alarm to some stupid early time just to avoid the biggest heat.
Bus stop ‘Eisberg’
Somebody must have spend such an effort designing all these bus stops, so that each one fits it’s neigbourhood. This one is in a mining area. I think somebody even wrote a book about soviet bus stops.
So far the biggest city-name-statue in Rostow on Don
summer rain in the south of Russia
If you order a coffee and the only question is if you want one ore two spoons of sugar, you know you’re in Russia.
A small Russian church in a small Russian village
After I passed Rostov on Don it was another 400km of pure boredom of just fields and super straight roads in what is called the Kuma–Manych Depression. I was about to give up on Russia when finally the first mountains of the Caucasus appeared in Stavropol. I had very nice hosts there and it turned out that Alex could actually play the harmonica part of one of my songs better than me even though he modestly called himself a ‘low skill player’. I guess the world needs more low skill players then.
To Pjatigorsk was a very long and exhausting 170km day, but I was rewarded on the next day with a bath in a hot mineral spring on a mountain. You can also get mineral water from a spring to drink. But I have to add here that mineral water in Russia is quite different from what we call mineral water in Germany and probably the rest of Europe. Their mineral water contains actually minerals and I think that’s disgusting. Anyways the bath was damn sweet.
This is in the forest of mount Mashuk in Pjatigorsk.
Since it’s not possible to enter Georgia through Abkhasia (unless you have a Georgian and a Russian passport, I guess) the only road to Georgia goes through the north Caucasus, Kabardino-Balkaria and North-Ossetia.
This is in Kabadino-Balkaria. “We are proud of our country.”
After that it got exciting, in Nalchik which is the capital of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic I stayed with a lady who turned out to be working for the first Russian TV channel РОССИЯ1. And after several passport and security checks and making sure that I’m not up to any conspiracy they let me into their TV cathedral and made a little сужет about me. So, here I am on the russian news.
After Nalchik I found myself an amazing campspot on a cliff with a view on the Caucasus mountains. And I admit that I moved the tent a meter back after I did the photo.
Here I made a short video about my fine little home that I’m carrying around with me.
A beautiful Russian church in Beslan, North Ossetia.
The last Russian town before climbing the North Caucasus and crossing to Georgia is Vladikavkaz, a very cosy and a bit sleepy little town with many old brick stone buildings.
After my last night in Russia in Vladikavkaz I turned south into the mountains towards Georgia. I made some videos while crossing the mountain pass to Tbilisi. The road is climbing up and up there and I could have made more videos but I guess I was too exhausted and too overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountain panoramas. So don’t judge me too hard, I’m not a film maker..
“Have a good trip!”