September 15, 2009


It may not have been clear in my last Blog about our last day, so I will itinerarise this extraordinary day (or daysssssssssss!)

[08:30]   Breakfast in Ostrov Hotel in Alexandrosov.
[09:00]   Walk to local 'Institute of Stones' (Музей рукотворного камня) for a long-winded account of creating Quartz.(see: Museum Website)
[11:00]   Pack up coach and drive out to Alexandrosov Kremlin for 2hour visit.(See Wikipedia )
[13:30]   Head for Moscow on bus.
[18:00]   Depart from Moscow for Novgorod
[19:30]   still driving in outskirts of Moscow.
[Night]   We are driving on a very busy road for Novgorod but sharing this with trucks heading to St Petersburg. All very frantic, on a 2 or 3 lane highway (not dual carriageway) and road condition is diabolical
[02:20]   puncture on road, stop to change rear wheel (nearside tyre change - for the Closing Code)
[02:40]   restart on the road
[04:45]   Park up at Supermarket for shopping and sleep
[07:00]   Catch local bus into Novgorod and get out at Kremlin.
[09:00] Guided tour of Novgorod Kremlin for 3hours, Juris and I leave this after one hour.
[13:30] head for home.
[18:20] Brief stop just before Russian border for tea and biscuit.
[18:30] Stop at Russian Border
[19:30] Clear of Russian and Estonian Customs and now dashing for Riga.
[21:00] First stop in Riga - just in time for one couple to catch the last bus for their 3.5hour journey to their seacoast home.
[22:20]   arrival at the flat of a friend of Juris.

More than 36hours on the move and about 1000kilometres travelled.

This holiday was always going to be an adventure, and that it certainly was. The holiday 'itinerary' was subject to constant change and uncertainty, but our two drivers and Courier kept it all together and ensured we didn't miss out. Restful it was not, but what was received in return will be remembered long.

We often fed ourselves by making sandwiches on the bus from cheese bread and sausage that we bought (everybody on the bus did this).
Page and Moy would have had a fit to see the state of our coach after one week of sleeping, picknicking and travelling.

The Mercedes Sprinter was quite an amazing vehicle, and though we were squeezed in, it was never badly uncomfortable. We covered huge distances at great speed on attrocious roads, and the surprising thing is just how the suspension coped with a well laden vehicle travelling it about 100kmph on potholed, cracked, and bumpy roads.

Our hotel in Alexandrosov Ostrov Hotel was very good - especially the all important plumbing. But we didn't see much of this hotel - just bed and breakfast.
I think praise should be given for our team from SIA RIgatur for this week.

However, I hope that I may be excused if next time I choose a holiday with shorter days, and more chance to eat hot sit-down meals.

Inside our Mercedes Sprinter Minibus; 3,000Kilometres like this !

Rear Wheel blow out at 02:20hours

Troitsky Cathedral. Cathedral of St. Trinity (Троицкий собор) within Alexandrovskaya sloboda

Pre-Soviet in Soviet in Veliky Novgorod (Вели́кий Но́вгород. Parts of Novgorod date back more than 1150years, and they knew a lot more then about elegance than Lenin or Stalin

Soviet in Veliky Novgorod (Вели́кий Но́вгород
From Russia [a PICASA album by RedSimon]

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