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Entries about siberia

TRIP HAZARD #2: Scourge of the Russian outdoors - the Gadfly

Otherwise known as bastard, bloody bastard or f-----g bastard

View As the Crow Flies Russia 2019 on stevecrownz's travel map.

One thoroughly unenjoyable part of travelling through Russia is a particularly nasty not-so-little bastard, the gadfly, also known as the horsefly or botfly.

Simply put, these bloody things are BASTARDS. And big bastards at that, probably up to 40mm long.


Stop almost anywhere, from the Steppes to the vast forests of Siberia, to idyllic Lake Baikal for even a few seconds and these bastards will find you and will bite you. They are even capable of biting through clothing, the t-shirts we wore under out jackets proved absolutely no barrier if our jackets were open or we had removed them when we stopped due to the heat.

The only items of clothing that thwarted their nasty little efforts were our Resurgence jeans (chew on a bit of Kevlar you bastard) and our jackets.

The bastards seemed to have a particular fondness to my bald head. I mean, REALLY. The indignity of it.

We were carrying insect repellent, in my case a can of Bushman, which worked to some degree but were not 100% effective at keeping the bastards away - at least not for very long.

Poetic justice dictated that gadflys provided many, many enjoyable and highly satisfying moments on the trip, one of the bastards splattered all over our screens or visors. God that felt good!

Our recommendation - wear a beekeepers outfit under your bike gear - problem solved even if you will look ridiculous.

Posted by stevecrownz 09:00 Archived in Russia Tagged russia outdoors siberia gadfly Comments (0)

We Regress to being Varsity Students

Accommodation in Tomsk

sunny 30 °C
View Ride Europe - East to West on Zamiam's travel map.

Steve has developed a friendship with a Geology professor from a university in Tomsk over the last four years, Alexey, who very generously provided us accommodation in Tomsk and was waiting outside when we arrived. Alexey cannot speak English so translate apps on smart phones got well used.


Below are photos of the excellent accommodation provided which is normally used for students.

Entrance to the property is by security gates so no worries about the bikes.


Entrance to the building is via a security door that would do Fort Knox proud.


Entrance Foyer and Lift


Foyer and passage on our floor


Our apartment door is also made of steel and very secure, just look at that lock. As for the key ...


Inside we were fortunate to have a full kitchen, dining area, large living and a bedroom for Steve. I got to sleep on the pullout this time which I guess was only fair after Vladivostok.


So overall we were in luxury.

Alexey and his wife Jane have also very graciously acted as our guides and showed us Tomsk as well as hosting us in their home for dinner. A more welcoming couple would be hard to find. We hope that we can return the hospitality in NZ one day.

Posted by Zamiam 12:38 Archived in Russia Tagged russia siberia as_the_crow_flies tomsk Comments (0)

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

Monument to Lenin - at 7.7m the largest Lenin head monument in the world.

Music Fountain

Monument to Checkhov

Monument to Verkhneudinskiy Kupets

Holy Odigitrievsky Cathedral

Datum Point of Siberia

Around the streets of Ulan Ude

Posted by stevecrownz 09:46 Archived in Russia Tagged buildings crow russia siberia carr buryat uluan_ude Comments (1)

Sights of Ulan Ude -1

Home to Siberia's oldest people and one of Russia's most colourful indigenous people, the Buryat

overcast 28 °C
View As the Crow Flies Russia 2019 on stevecrownz's travel map.

As mentioned at the end of the last blog entry, Ulan Ude had been selected as the location for one of our "rest" (as in no riding) days.

John had the hotel recommend and book a local Buryat guide to show us as many of the sites at time permitted but first we did a self-guided tour of a Buddhist museum with a dedicated display of Buddhist medicine - fascinating, and to think the knowledge and techniques on display date from hundreds of years past.


Posted by stevecrownz 07:59 Archived in Russia Tagged museum crow russia siberia ulan_ude carr buryat as_the_crow_flies 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.


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.


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.


With the proprietors approval, we were able to stick two of our trip stickers on their front door, joining all sorts of others.

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.


"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.


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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