Saturday 07 May 2011
Voronezh – Volgograd
354 miles 8hours 32 minutes
It was quite a pleasant night on this little gastinitsa (truck stop) witch looked like your typical movie knocking shop with the fake purple silk curtains etc.
We got an early get away being on the road by 7am and put a few miles down – well I say we but I think I was a little more keen than Simon after last nights banya escapade.
It was around 9am when we had our first fuel stop and breakfast Twix. It was back to the hard drive, it wasn’t so much the trip but the shocking roads and even more shocking Russian driving skills or lack of… But hey it’s all part of the experience I suppose. It was amazing to see the scenery change from woodland to farmland as far as the eye could see. It was strange as we were driving through a section of forest that reminded me of the new forest back in England.
We did a pit stop to have a drink and stretch our legs at a small memorial of a plane crash of a jet fighter. It was a little odd with the tail of the plane sticking out of the ground and the picture of the pilot on the side as the memorial.
We had great delight when we were stopped by two police men at a check point. We had been stopped for supposedly doing 61kmh in a 60kmh zone. Both were very friendly with one being larger character it was hand shakes all round. They wanted to know what we were doing so having a map on the side of the land rover I was able to show them, the amazement in their faces was a picture. So with a good luck and a hand shake they sent us on our way. They seemed keen to move me as I was in the way of the speed gun. Once away we had a good laugh about it over the radio and how they didn’t want to see any paper work so they probably just wanted to see what we were doing.
We were passing through small town and villages, amazing to see they were still using all the old wells maybe around 5ish scattered through each village.
We arrived around 3:30pm in Volgograd and finding the hotel with ease and with relevance a small amount of traffic. It just felt good to be hear and on such a special weekend. It put both of us at ease being able to put the bike and landy in secure parking as it was such a big city and with the thousands of tourists about to embark on the place this weekend.
We both went for a short walk and even down to the river Valgor. As we were there standing looking across the river in amazement in the size of it there was a group of women dressed it traditional clothes singing and soon came up the steps where Simon and I were standing.
Our stomachs were rumbling and as neither of us had much to eat today. As Suzie was due into the city around 9pm we found a small place called bar & grill well the name says it all a great place to wait as it was in the square too. Wile we ate we had some entertainment provided by the local police department. The were all hanging around closing off the square to all traffic, now wile they did this one of them had a motor bike (a Jowa) with all the others taking it in turns to have goes. So in their smart short sleeved shirts and shinny shoes so off they wobbly well went with a few stalls and sudden breaking. I don’t know who had more fun them or us watching them.
We were lucky enough to see the final dress rehearsal for the victory day parade to give us a little taster of what was to come. It wasn’t long before we hared that Suzie had landed, but disaster Suzie was hear but her bag wasn’t. She was quite upset as I’m sure any of us would be and I’m sure it’s happened to most of us I know it’s happened to me before. Still we popped back to the bar to reassure her and get a drink in to reassure her. It was a pleasant evening with smiles all around.