First thing, I returned to the communicaions shop to get a SIM card for my phone, as the English speaking lass had gone home the day before when I got there. In between customers, I spent an hour and a half there, while she set up my phone properly, as it hadn't been working when I left Oz, and downloading apps and just chatting in general.
Back to the Hotel Zemchuzhina to repack the bike, and I was underway in Russia, at last, finally. Thankfully, the OSM software was good, and I had no problems getting through and out of Vlad. During the course of this trip, I have been amazed at the number of car and truck drivers who would pull alongside me and toot, wave and/or give a grin and a thumbs up! I was, at that stage, still flying the Aussie flag. Hmmmm.
A section of construction appeared, and it was horrible! Rough as guts,stone based and full of potholes, it seemed neverending, although it was probably only about 15km long. It felt like 100km by the time it was done.
Once out of Vlad the countryside was gently rolling hills and open pasture land. And oh, so green!
Things were going well, but I had no idea where I'd stop for the night. Behind some trees I noticed two bikes as I flashed past. It was the two guys from the ferry. Did a u-ey and went back to chat. They had left at 8am, I had left at 11.30am! Poor Hzingu from SK had not enjoyed his very first experience of non-pavement riding through the contruction section. He was not overly impressed, although he managed OK.
We agreed to stop at a hotel Shoi knew of, so I went ahead and then waited for them. Nope, the hotel she is FULL. The lads set off while I was getting back on the bike. Didn't see them again that night, nor since!! I kept riding into the evening, and eventually found a gostinitza (hotel) at about the 700km from Vlad stage.
Due to language barriers, I "thought" I was pre-ordering breakfast, with a coffee to have before retiring to my room. Nope, out came the coffee, then eggs, ham, a small salad together with two blinis (pancakes) with condensed milk!!! Gulp!
I was done for day one. About 700km travelled.
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