A glimpse of real Russia

Friday greeted us with a deprssingly gray atmosphere. After a quick breakfast we loaded the bikes. My Ural was running nicely. To our surprise the can of Binding beer was gone. We were sorry we weren’t there to see the exprssion of whoever took the beer, when he first tasted it. It had, after all, been with us for almost a year and several thousand kilometers.

Our aim for the day was Staraja Russia - Sergei had recommended it. The scenery in western Russia is somewhat interesting - there are roads with not a single curve in 50 km and only bushes on the both sides of the road. That’s what it was also for the first part of our ride for the day.

Staraja Russian was nothing to see really. I had a cup of coffee, Bergie some Orange juice - or Apelisinavi sok in russia - and we continued for Demjansk. For the first time we decided to take a road markd i yellow on the map. The first 40 km. the road was in pretty good shape but after that we had some 30 km of gravel road. The riding was slow but we saw some real Russian countryside. On the road to Demjansk I noticed again that my Ural isn’t running properly. We reached Demjansk only to find that it was nothing more than a village so we decided to ride for Valdaj which was some 70 km more to the east. We missed the exit for the city once but managed to find it after all and checked in to a ghost hotel, which by the way had no sign no hotel whatsoever and looked as Soviet it it can get. The room for two costed about 12 euros. When driving around the city I noticed clearly again that the left cylinder misfired repeatedly.

We had a dinner in the only restaurant in the city - Dar Valdaj - with both of us having a beer, a soup and some delicious pelmenis. It all costed less than 5 euros. After that we had two beers at the local beer tent where one pint costed 60 cents. When back at the hotel we were asked if the two bikes outside were ours and after a positive answer they propably tried telling us, that if we leave our bikes there, they won’t be there the next morning. After three beers we didn’t care anymore so we walked to our room, watchd some bike-stuff on the TV and made plans for the next day - if our bikes are taken we take the train to Moscow othervise we aim back south to Holm.