We left Monino bound for Nizhny Novgorod (about 400km North-East). Nizhny Novgorod is home to the confluence of the great Volga and Oka rivers, making it a prosperous town since the 1200’s in terms of trade via water.The roads to get there were pretty shit, but you could still crank 100km/ph in the main. They were narrow, single lanes with loads of trucks which had worn deep ruts into the road. This made overtaking pretty sketchy, and this was compounded by the inpatient and dangerous driving habits of the Russians.
The Russian leg of our tour has been at the forefront of my mind for a while and for various reasons:
Reason one: Russia marks the beginning of truly foreign territory for both of us. Neither of us have been before, and even through 30% of Russia (the parts that we will pass through) is classed as European – it is certainly very different to the countries that we are leaving behind.
Reason two: Personal safety. We have been advised by several people that Russians don’t take very well to foreigners of certain skin tones (Just 3% of the Russian population are foreigners) , nor disabled people. SHIT! According to one source there are 60,000 skin-heads living in Moscow alone.
Reason three: Our first actual border crossing. If crossing a border into Russia is as difficult/awkward as obtaining an Automobile Tourist Visa we had our work cut out for us.
So – I am writing this post on our 7th day in Russia. Needless to say, we got through the border crossing!