Russian experiences

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“Irbitski Mototsikletny Zavod”, the den of the Ural sidecars

After riding 2,500 kilometres towards East, we reached Irbit, place where our sidecars were made. The following day of our arrival in this city of 40,000 inhabitants located nearby the plains of Siberia, it was time to discover the den of the Ural sidecars.

We had an appointment at 10am, but without any news since a fefw days from Marina, our contact in the Ural manufacture, we were a bit worried. We crossed the city to reach the Ural manufacture. Just arrived on the parking and turned off our engines, Marina arrived with the Security Manager.…

On the Russian roads

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The Narva river separates Estonia and Russia, in the city of the same name – Narva. Upon our arrival in this city, we checked-in for the flat we rent for the evening. We booked on the website www.goswift.eu a slot time to cross the Russian border on the following day. This administrative process reassured us. Indeed, it looked very organised giving us the hope of a fast border crossing.

At 9am, the time of our appointment, we arrived at the border post located at the bottom of the massive castle of the town-centre of Narva. Finally, it looked more complex than expected.

Yekaterinburg & the Ural mountains – 11 days – 237 metres above sea level

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After 350 kilometres, on the main road between Perm and Yekaterinbourg, we crossed the symbolic line separating Europe and Asia, this separation is also marking the beginning of Siberia.

With surprise, we discovered we were not matching the local time. After verification, we had to add 2 hours. In spit of their proximity, there is a jet lag between the two “oblasts” (equivalent to a county) of Perm and Yekaterinburg. A few kilometres after entering in Asia, we arrived in the capital of the Ural area which is also the 4th city of the country. In spite of its massive size, we had no issue to reach the town-centre.…

Tcherepovets and the crossing of the Russian taiga – 8 days – 130 metres above the sea level

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Leaving our hostel between two showers, the sat nav indicated 390 kms. The weather was cold. We had to wear several layers including waterproof suit and winter gloves. 

From the first kilometres to the middle of the journey, we had showers, snow, hail and sometimes a bit of sunshine giving us, at each time, some hope. The coffee breaks at the petrol stations were life-saving. We entered, in the station, wet and cold for some warmth with a big mug of coffee after some tough 100 kilometres.

Our arrival to Tcherepovet was through its industrial area.…

Saint Petersburg – 3 days – 3 metres above sea level

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It was 9am when we arrived at the Estonian border office along the Narva river. We needed more than four hours to cross the bridge spanning the river before to ride for the first time in Russia. As an award, we enjoyed our first soviet lunch with a great view over the Narva castle and for the last time, Estonia plus the European Union in the background.

We rode 157kms to reach Saint Petersburg. 

The road was straight and surrounded by several pine trees. While the sat nav was indicating our point of arrival at 30 kilometres further, a sign was showing the entry of the Saint Petersburg city.…

Latvian bathing

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The Baltic Sea was, in my mind, representing the North with snow and cold. A sea space which was the playground of the Vikings at the 9th century. These people were famous for their spirit of adventures. The legend was telling they didn’t hesitate by diving in the sea, even during winter. Still, this story inspires nowadays the bathing clubs through Europe during winter. How in these conditions we couldn’t resist to the appeal of this magic sea for some moves of fortifying breaststroke?

I didn’t go traveling around the world with the idea of bathing in the seas that I will see.…