Moritz Ecker - Blog

WITH A BIKE AND A GUITAR – НА ДРУГОЙ КОНЕЦ СВЕТА

Author: moritz (Page 1 of 2)

Into the Caucasus

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 Nalchick 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.

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.

And besides all these funny things you can fun some nice wild camp spots in th caucasus region. Here I made a short video when I was about my fine little home that I’m carrying around with me.

After my last night in Russia that I spend 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..

I played a song at 2400m, it is really cold up there and I could hardly feel my fingers after this little video session. Some people call this the geographical border between Europe and Asia.

East of the east Ukraine

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.

Russian Emptiness

Entering the largest country of the world I realized it’s not only very large it’s also very empty. Or maybe all Russians are on holidays, I don’t know but this emptiness reminds me of Brandenburg.

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.

This Song I played on river Don, I hope the storm is not to loud on the recording!

 

Goodbye, Ukraine – Hello Russia!

I had the honour to be filmed with a proper Sony Alpha Camera by my amazing host in Kharkiv, I hope the traffic noise is not too loud. Ukraine, you’ve been very kind to me, thanks to all the lovely people I met there! – Next stop is the russian border.

The border crossing to Russia was quick and dirty. No questions, just the usual mistrustful look in my passport. And of course they always check my Kalashnikov – oh it’s just a guitar? Really? Who would have thought it!

 

Somewhere along the road in central Ukraine

While cycling a long slalom on a never ending road in central Ukraine I found a bus stop thats colours fit perfectly to my shirt, so I sat down and played a song about never ending roads. Anyways, I would have taken any excuse to make a stop.

Besides very friendly ukrainian people the roads are more a mental burden.

It’s like a very old c64 game I remember from the early 90, what was the name again?

A big detour

To avoid problems with the border police I have to make a big circle around Crimea, the eastern Ukraine and Abkhazia, a detour of about 800km. Also I won’t be able to cycle down the Black Sea and have to choose a way through the north caucasus.

Odessa and the Black Sea

It’s really not so easy to find the ocean here but its good to be in Odessa. A very friendly athmosphere, two days of rest and ukrainian banja helped me charge up my batteries for the next leg of the tour. I played a song on Odessa’s harbour, I hope you like it!

24h Tiraspol

I had the honour to spend 24 hours in this little part of Moldova which feels like a litte part of Russia. With their own money, their own flag and of course Lenin streets and statues.

Road are much better than in the rest of Moldova but it’s also less traffic. I made a little Video cycling into Tiraspol, note that this is the main road of the capital. I hope you can see a little bit of the sovjet influence and it is not too shakey. I was also a bit afraid to film because you’re not suppose to make pictures of any military facility any there’s so much military everywhere, but I didn’t have any problems.

Cycling in Chisinau

It’s been pretty empty on the Moldovan Road but here in the capital Chisinau there’s finally people! Very nice people actually, I spend the night on the couch of the drummer of the amazing Rock Band Till The Last Drop, check them out.

It’s a real pain though to cycle in this city especially at night as due to a late snow storm in April lots of trees party fell down and cut the electricity. Now half the city lighting doesn’t work which is tricky when the roads are steep and there’s lots of holes in them.

Crazy Dog Special

I just had to do this, since crazy dogs seem to be about to disappear. But a few of them are left without manners. So, I’m uploading this as an evidence for the hate of dogs towards cyclists while my bottom bracket gets replaced in Iași, Romania. I hope you enjoy. I love Romania!

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