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Sights of Ulan Ude -2

overcast 26 °C
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Write-Up Coming soon - meanwhile here are some pics to enjoy.

Datsan Rinpoche Bagsha
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Monument to Lenin - at 7.7m the largest Lenin head monument in the world.
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Music Fountain
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Monument to Checkhov
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Monument to Verkhneudinskiy Kupets
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Holy Odigitrievsky Cathedral
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Datum Point of Siberia
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Around the streets of Ulan Ude
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Posted by stevecrownz 09:46 Archived in Russia Tagged buildings crow russia siberia carr buryat uluan_ude Comments (1)

Khabarovsk-Blagoveshensk

The crew heads west towards Siberia

semi-overcast
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Day two of riding saw us leave our hotel in Khabarovsk about 0830 and ride 695km to Blagoveshensk, the administrative capital of the Amur Oblast of Russia. Blagoveshensk is on the border with China with only the Amur River separating the city from its southern neighbour.

Again, to plagiarise Lonely Planet

"Blagoveshchensk is where modern China comes grinding up against provincial Russia, facing as it does the Chinese city of Heihe across the massive Amur River. The cultural weight of its giant neighbour can be felt throughout this modest, clean and tidy place – Chinese restaurants, street signs, tourists and business people are ubiquitous and it's fair to say that the city looks far more to the south than it does towards Moscow."

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We did not schedule a lay-over/sightseeing day for Blagoveshensk although we had planned to walk over the bridge to China but....alas..... our information was not correct and the bridge we planned to walk across is still under construction!

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John

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David

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Steve

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Unusual decor in our hotel in Blagoveshensk

Posted by stevecrownz 09:12 Archived in Russia Tagged bridges buildings bmw versys carr khabarovsk as_the_crow_flies blagoveshensk Comments (0)

Beginning at the End of the Line

Vladivostok Railway Station kilometer marker 9288


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Vladivostok Railway Station, just a few hundred metres from our hotel, in kilometre mark 9288 on the Trans-Siberian Railway, Moscow Railway Station being kilometre 0 and St Petersburg kilometre -680 (go figure, the poor people that live there are behind at the start!).

After the obligatory security screening and baggage x-ray, John, Oleg, David and I started wandering around inside the station taking photos and videos, some of which you see below, only to be approached and politely reprimanded by a young man who informed us that we required a guide if we were not in the station to actually catch a train. Of course there is a cost to the guide - 200 rubles each (about $5).

We were escorted back upstairs where we were handed very official looking passes to hand around our neck and the same young man instantly became our guide :-)

I was well worth the money. he pointed out a lot of things we would certainly have missed or at the very least not understood the significance of.

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Vladivostok Railway Station

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David admiring the architecture

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Our guide pointing out the painted ceiling mural, with one side depicting Moscow and the other Vladivostok with associated dignitaries and VIPs from early 20th century Russia.

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Vladivostok at the bottom, Moscow at top

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Moscow bottom, Vladivostok top.

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Apparently this says Ho Chi Minh visited the station on three occasions, 1924, 1927 and 1934.

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We are really lucky to have David with us on the trip, he has figured out which way we need to go!

Posted by stevecrownz 06:03 Archived in Russia Tagged buildings people trains crow russia vladivostok versys carr as_the_crow_flies Comments (0)

Vladivostok

Russia's Capital in the East


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We have been here in Vladivostok for nearly a week, much of that time making last minute preparations for the trip west. These have ranged from John running around like a headless chicken while peeling off wads of US dollars to get his bike cleared and off the docks, to me going into Intimo underwear shop to get some briefs as all my luggage is in the container with the bikes (which is 3-days late) and there really is only 4 ways to wear one pair of underwear without repeating , to David spending $40 on shaving foam (ouch), to getting adapters, cables etc.

By the time we all arrived at out hotel, the Hotel Primorye my little brother David had already snagged the good bed in our suite and left me with the pull out couch thingy. There is so little respect of the elders these days.

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His lordship David Crow's palatial suite at the Primorye
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Steve Crow's humble abode at the same establishment.

After I (sort of) forgave him, David and I headed out for dinner at the aptly names Brothers Bar & Grill just around the corner. Really nice place with probably the most expensive New York steak in town (about NZ$50).

After we seated the manager comes over and asks if we would like a hooker?

We were stunned to say the least.

Then we realised he meant hookah and we politely declined. Our new saying "Welcome to Russia" was born.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent site-seeing. The weather, apparently typical for summer, sees a lot of sea fog and overcast skies with temperatures in the teens to low 20's. Taxis (Maxims) are fantastically cheap so we kept the drivers for long-periods and got taken all over the place, including down to the end of Russky Island to the south of the city of Vladivostok. This involves a trip over the magnificent Russky Bridge which connects the Russky Island and the Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula sections of the city across the Eastern Bosphorus strait. With an overall length of 1,885m and central span of 1,104 metres it is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world. It apparently cost US$1.1 billion (that's with a 'B') to build and has an impressive 70m of vertical clearance.

Unfortunately sea fog prevented us getting any good shots of the bridge.

Following is an assortment of images from around Vladivostok.

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Russky Island

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Posted by stevecrownz 01:05 Archived in Russia Tagged beaches bridges buildings skylines birds boats crow bmw russia vladivostok as_the_crow_flies 1200gsa russky_island Comments (0)

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