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Chita to Ulan Ude

sunny 32 °C
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Situated some 650km west of Chita is Ulan Ude, the Buryat capital is one of Eastern Siberia’s most likeable cities.

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Buryatia as the region encompassing Lake Baikal is known, is the homeland of the Buryats, a Mongolic people, numbering approximately 500,000, who are the largest indigenous group in Siberia.

I liked Ulan Ude; there is something about the place that seems to radiate friendliness. With its smiley Asian features, cosy city centre and fascinating Mongol-Buddhist culture, the Buryat capital is one of Eastern Siberia’s most likable cities. Quietly busy, welcoming and, after Siberia’s Russian cities, refreshingly exotic.

The ride from Chita was relatively 'easy' - long stretches of steppes interspersed with forested areas.

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As we have found with all the time estimates on Google Maps for the trip, add about 10%. It is impossible to maintain an average speed much in excess of 80kmh, often much less. Endless road works, slow traffic in built-up areas effectively kill the benefits of high-speed running on the good bits of road.

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At one of our stops along the way David took the opportunity to break out his DJI Mavic Air drone to catch a few shots, including John and I riding past.

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Roadside "cafe" with John and I gearing up to get on the road.

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Steve and John

Some shots from along today's ride.
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We elected to have a rest day in Ulan Ude so John booked a Buryat tour guide, a lovely lady called Anna

Posted by stevecrownz 06:37 Archived in Russia Tagged crow bmw russia ulan_ude versys carr buryat as_the_crow_flies 1200gsa chita Comments (0)

Blagoveshensk to Yerofey Pavlovich to Chita

WOW, this place is bloody huge

sunny 25 °C
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Onwards! West!

Hour after hour, billions of trees and thousands of square miles (admit it, sounds better than square kilometers doesn't it) of steppes.

Christ, who's bloody idea was this?

I could post hundreds of photos of forest, trees, vast plains of grassland but.... they all look the same when you stare at them for up to 12 hours a day, day and day after day.... anyway you get my drift.

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Russia is beyond BIG. Australia is big. Russia is ginormous! Forget all concept of distances, riding a long way in Russia is very, very tiring. The roads, whilst they have been a lot better than we were led to believe they would be, they are very bumpy and undulating and keeping an eye out for drivers with a death wish is exhausting.

This leg of the trip took two days for a total of 1572km.

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On Thursday July 4th we did the 795km from Blagoveshensk to Yerofey Pavlovich where we stayed at what could be best described a truck-stop or road house. As with everywhere we have stayed to date the rooms were clean so no complaints. It was a bit weird walking to the next building and paying an old lady 100 rubles to have a shower but there was plenty of hot water and the showers were immaculately kept so again, no complaints.

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With the proprietors approval, we were able to stick two of our trip stickers on their front door, joining all sorts of others.
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We got up early Friday (it was bloody cold outside!) , fueled up at the bowsers beside the road house and set off to complete the 777km to Chita.

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"Of all Eastern Siberia’s major cities, Chita is the least prepared for visitors. It was literally put on the map by the noble-blooded Decembrists, one of whom designed its street-grid layout. Today there’s nothing aristocratic about this regional capital where Soviet symbols still embellish Stalinist facades, shaven-headed conscripts guard pillared military headquarters and Chinese cross-border peddlers lug monster bales past a well-tended Lenin statue. Non-Chinese foreigners are still a rarity here; tourism is a thing that happens elsewhere.".... Lonely Planet.

We would agree. Everything was hard work in Chita, even "finding" our hotel which was located on the 5th to 9th floors of a retail / commercial office building with no obvious signage.

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Posted by stevecrownz 03:56 Archived in Russia Tagged russia siberia steppes carr as_the_crow_flies blagoveshchensk yerofey pavlovich chita Comments (0)

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