February
23rd
2011

Russian Visas – The Basics


Russian Visas – the basics

After an unrestricted ride through Europe using our British passports, it took some time to get our heads around travel restrictions and visa requirements for the next leg of our trip; more so as we had decided Russia was on our cycle touring wish list. This is a quick summary of what we learnt while applying for Russian visas in January 2011. – Posted by Emma

February
24th
2011

Getting Russian Visas


Getting Russian visas

We had found few reports of cycle tourists travelling through Russia in the last few years and after trying to arrange our Russian visas while in Istanbul we can see why people might opt for the Central Asian route instead. With time on our hands over winter, we spent some time researching our options and gave it a shot. – Posted by Emma

May
2nd
2011

Rushing To Moscow


Rushing to Moscow

It is raining as our ferry pulls into Sochi and we couldn’t help but compare it to our auspicious arrival in Santander a year ago. Here too the town is shadowed by a mountain range, but in low clouds we don’t see a hint of it. We waited to clear the customs and immigration into Russia’s Rivera standing in a cold drizzle, wondering how we’d managed to arrive in yet another resort town in unseasonably bad weather. – Posted by Emma

May
3rd
2011

Getting Mongolian Visas


Getting Mongolian visas

Its not so difficult to get a Mongolian tourist visa allowing 30 days to visit the country, and its extendable without hassle in Ulan Bator. Easy right? But while researching cycling routes we caught wind of another visa, so unreported that even the official embassy websites don’t list it as an option. With spectacular cycling to be had in Russia’s Altay mountain region which borders the western road into Mongolia, we decided to give the fabled 90 day Mongolian tourist visa a shot. – Posted by Emma

May
7th
2011

Meandering Around Moscow


Meandering around Moscow

Our arrival into Moscow by train is in the early evening but after assembling the bikes and locating our first night’s hotel its already 9pm. At least the long daylight hours mean the sun is barely setting. Making a hasty dinner we review the route to our Warmshowers host for the following morning. He has asked that we arrive before 10am and with 30km to cover through Moscow city streets in rush hour we plan an early start. – Posted by Justin

May
13th
2011

Golden Circle Wonderland


Golden Circle wonderland

We are heading out of Moscow towards Kostroma on the Northern rim of Russia’s Golden Circle region, a recently-coined named for an area rich in Russian history, gilded onion-shaped domes and restored historic buildings. Despite deciding not to buy higher quality maps in a Moscow bookstore, we hope our 1:2 000 000 map aided by high detail on our GPS will make navigation easy. – Posted by Justin

May
13th
2011

11,000 Kilometre Photo


11,000 kilometre photo

On the 13th May 2011, our seventh cycling day in Russia, we passed the 11,000 kilometre mark on our way into the town of Kostroma. We have been gradually getting adjusted to the long straight Russian roads, the variable cycling surface and the fact that even a 100km plus day makes little dent in our map of Russia. – Posted by Justin

May
15th
2011

In And Out Of Kostroma


In and out of Kostroma

Needing a decent wash of ourselves and our clothes after a week of cycling and camping, we had finally crossed the mighty Volga river after our dead-end detour to Ples, and cycled around the central part of Kostroma searching for a cheap hotel for the best part of an hour before giving up. – Posted by Emma

May
21st
2011

Into The Wild


Into the wild

With a week of cycling ahead of us before the next sizable town of Kirov, we’re firmly off the tourist map and have only the forest to distract us. The thick wooded tranquillity is sporadically interrupted by lines of long distance truck traffic, but there is still plenty of time to appreciate Russia’s natural beauty and daydream about the next truck stop cafe meal. Distracted by contemplation of bandana making (Emma) and buying a second pair of sports socks (Justin), we put our heads down and do some serious pedalling. – Posted by Emma

May
24th
2011

Day Of Food – Russia


Day of food - Russia

Our cycle tourist diet in Russia has swung between feast and famine as we adjust to the growing distances between amenities, the further east we cycle. To counter lack of regular shops, we have started eating lunch out at Russia’s roadside cafe’s and this day was no different with a small snack of left-over lunch ingredients followed by second lunch not long after. From our extensive survey of Russian cuisine, we can report we like it very much! – Posted by Emma