After wandering in Old Europe for over three months, it was time to cross a big border.
A morning bus took me to the edge of Tallinn and Estonia, and then towards the beginning of a totally unknown world; a world that would have turned out to be an extremely interesting, varied and complicated one, but that would have also given me some deep sighs of real adventure.
After longing for her and dreaming about her for a long time, there she was.
Finally, it had come: Russia.
4 September, Saint Petersburg (Russia) | Day 95 🇷🇺
It had been really moody and bad tempered, Russia.
It made me suffer a lot, Russia.
But she also welcomed me with a brushstroke.
First impressions, at night: small and bad.
5 September, Saint Petersburg (Russia) | Day 96 🇷🇺 – VIDEO
Am I in Russia on in Greece? 😨 😱
They say is beautiful.
They call it the Venice of the North.
They believe it has an interesting history and there are some stunning buildings, views, women and skies.
Really, I don’t know why.
Kidding, of course.
I’m overwhelmed by Beauty all around in this place.
That’s why today I took it slow and visited just one church and a park to have a nap on.
And anyway, one thing is sure.
The best “Church Name” Award ever goes to that one at the end of the canal in this picture:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood.
6 September, Saint Petersburg (Russia) | Day 97 🇷🇺
I had already experienced this feeling in other places.
In Buenos Aires, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai …
That feeling of being a tiny little piece in the middle of a millions-pieces jigsaw, constantly moving around.
In St. Petersburg I felt it again, and sometimes I was a little scared by thinking about where I am and what there is in front of me.
The second largest city in the largest country in the world.
Oh, yes … it will be really fun to move on.
For Russians really don’t know how a beautiful park should look like.
7 September, Saint Petersburg (Russia) | Day 98 🇷🇺
After yesterday’s almost summer day, today the weather kicked me directly into autumn.
That really “shitty climate” which makes you feel like having 100 teas and postponing everything to tomorrow.
And then … then this.
8 September, Petergof (Russia) | Day 99 🇷🇺 – VIDEO
Petergof Palace live.
Putin should be also somewhere around here to check if everything is alright for tomorrow’s exhibition …
“If you go to Petergof Palace, you should wear your best smoking”, they said.
“And what if I don’t even have a jacket?”, I answered.
And anyway it was in Russian, so I couldn’t understand properly.
9 September, Saint Petersburg (Russia) | Day 100 🇷🇺
Reached the day number 100 – yes, guys, 100! – and it ‘s time to go into Russia big stomach.
Tonight a slow and bright train will take me to Moscow,
where it seems that tomorrow there is also a big parade.
Today it was the last day I was, more or less, close to the sea.
I have no idea when and where I’ll see another one, so I thought I should pedal until
the end of St. Petersburg and pay a tribute to the waves.
Ok, Gulf of Finland is not Kamares’s bay in Sifnos.
But it was really worth it anyway.
10 September, Moscow (Russia) | Day 101 🇷🇺
101 Days, not Dalmatians.
And yes, that one back there is the Red Square in Moscow.
And it is touching to see how the whole city dressed in white to welcome me today.
Or maybe I just arrived exactly on the birthday of the city. 859 years today.
I’m almost crying from happiness, can’t you see.
So, I’m in Moscow since a couple of hours and I already met Masha & the Bear.
The Bear (known also as “little boy”) shows much more enthusiasm than I do.
Masha (little Anja) gave me a special painting instead.
Oh … Russia!
11 September, Moscow (Russia) | Day 102 🇷🇺
Sunday. Rain. Tiredness after yesterday. So today I woke up and I wanted to do nothing.
And that is exactly what I did. Nothing.
Then, at evening, I got hungry.
And somehow I wanted to taste blueberry risotto and chanterelles cooked in olive oil, garlic and parsley.
So at least, even today, I did something.
12 September, Moscow (Russia) | Day 103 🇷🇺
HOW TO CONTINUE?
So, for the first time since I left, I find myself at a crossroads.
I do not know how to continue.
Which way to go, indeed.
Not that I ever had a well-defined program so far, but I certainly knew that, wherever
I was in Europe, in some way I could always change my road easily.
But since I came to Russia, as well as meeting several difficulties due to language barriers, I also started to perceive what distances, roads, streets, paths mean. Because here, once you choose which way to go, it is not so easy “to change what you started”.
So why a crossroads?
Those who have been following this journey from the beginning know that my aim is to reach South-East of Asia using my Brompton and ground transportation.
But there are many possibilities to get there, each of them with good and bad sides.
Here they are.
Continue on the Trans-Siberian to Irkutsk and then down to Ulan Ude. From there go to Mongolia, in China and towards Hong Kong with and then cycle to Vietnam.
GOOD SIDES: continuity (this was also my initial idea), a chance to see Mongolia and parts of China.
BAD SIDES: visas mostly (it seems I can get the Mongolian one within few days here in Moscow or perhaps even at the border, but there are procedures and then certainly the Chinese one will not be a free ride), cold.
Train to Vladivostok and then flight to Japan or Korea (there are also ferries, but they are not compatible with my Russian visa expire date). Thence south.
GS: complete the Trans-Siberian Railway, discover Vladivostok (I have been always attracted by this place somehow) and continue through very curious countries.
BS: I should take a flight (which I would like to avoid), costs.
Once I visit the Lake Baikal, to go back to Novosibirsk and from there get on a train to Astana (Kazakhstan) and then enter Kyrgyzstan.
GS: basically the only one is that I do not need visas (15 days in Kazakhstan and 60 in Kyrgyzstan would be free), therefore travel I could travel free from thoughts.
BS: I don’t know anything about those countries and then what about after Kyrgyzstan?!
For sure OPTION C turns me on a lot (would be a complete adventurous non-sense), but still OPTION A is probably the winning one.
Anyway, I still have a little time to think about it …
The only one thing that is sure, is that within October 3rd I have to move out from big Mother Russia.
We will see what’s next.
Life’s a little game.
Among other things, I forgot to share the fact that Moscow, two days ago, welcomed me like this.
After I spent the morning trying to understand how to apply for my Mongolian visa, I thought it was time to finally visit the Kremlin.
However, as I always prefer to take it slowly, today I chose the less known one.
Famous Kremlin in Red Square’s little and picturesque brother: Izmailov’s Kremlin.
Here it is.
I was expecting at any moment one of The Warriors to come out
asking me to “come out to play-i-ay”, but nothing.
Only colorful roofs and souvenirs shops. Fair enough.
13 September, Moscow (Russia) | Day 104 🇷🇺
Yesterday there were about 30 degrees, and a purple evening (really, it was purple).
Today, in the afternoon, out of a sudden, a malefic wind came and changed everything.
Sky, faces, flowers, ducks … everything.
Probably autumn and cold have been officially announced.
And I’m heading Siberia soon with a paper-jacket.
14 September, Moscow (Russia) | Day 105 🇷🇺
Plan A: CONFIRMED
15 September, Moscow (Russia) | Day 106 🇷🇺
To change country, to change cities, to discover every day something new, to get excited, to get discouraged, to feel lonely, to feel super, to sweat, to breath, to solve problems, to sit on the grass of a park never seen before, to observe different skies, to listen to strange musics and incomprehensible languages, to meet people, to open up to them instantly without knowing why, to perceive in them the same old energy, to fall in love with their stories, their eyes and their smiles, to embrace them and to say them goodbye, perhaps for the last time.
To see them leaving.
This too … what traveling is.
And for today I’m over and out.
16 September, Moscow (Russia) | Day 107 🇷🇺
Moscow welcomed me with a big celebration, music everywhere in the streets
and a special present (little Anja’s drawing).
Moscow gave me colours, chaos, flavours, traffic, a Mongolian visa, rain, poetry,
magic moments and very deep feelings.
At the last day Moscow greeted me with homemade pancakes,
red caviar and a painting somehow inspired by me.
Thanks to Svetlana Aristova and her “The Storyteller”, today Moscow’s circle comes to the end.
I fought a lot in order to enter Russia, but I was sure it was worth the effort.
Now more than ever.
17 September, Moscow (Russia) | Day 108 🇷🇺 – VIDEO TRANSIBERIAN RAILWAY