23 May 2016
Birobidzhan – Blagoveshchensk 520 kms travelled = Total 2052 kms
This was the longest distance covered thus far. I am certain even longer days await. All a bit made more bearable by braking the journey after every 100kms or thereabouts. Lunch-spotted in a small roadside café enjoying Borscht https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borscht
You most certainly have hear-say knowledge, but here’s a little more. Every Borscht is different, today’s was yummy and a much welcome warm-up.
The landscape is slowly changing. Leaving Vladivostok – all along the road it is swamp- or marsh land. Some still visible under water caused by over-topping of the Armur river. Other parts look like a perfect spot to get heating material ‘torf’ – don’t know the English term. Now we start to see more Taiga-like landscape. The trees are mainly birch and a type of pine. None of them grows very tall, max about 5-6 meters and all have a very slim trunk. In-between are patches of low scrub and it looks like Blue-berries. Hard to stop and see as the road is elevated and often a small stream divides it from the surrounding land.
I also see evidence of recent bush-fires. Yes, indeed, bushfires in Siberia! As much an issues as in Oz, just under-reported. Hardly any soul lives out there, but I do see destroyed/burnt-out buildings, which in the first place are very basic, often wooden huts. On a few patches the fire is still going. So despite the cold, around 8-10 degrees C. the fire finds sufficient material to continue, but soon burn out as the road forms a man-made barrier and the fire is not strong enough to jump. Otherwise a patch of swamp stops it progress.
Industry here appears to be mining of soil in open-cut or timber. Somewhere close is Russia’s newest answer to Cape Canaveral, a launching spot for space rockets, with the initial one sending up a satellite just a few weeks ago. Foreigners cannot go there L.
Arriving at the town of Blagoveshchensk we are waved down by Dimi, who will be our host including tomorrow’s rest day. Dimi (Dimon) has organised a flat in a Russian Block of flats for us to use. He and Sergje, the owner of the flat, show us around Blagoveshchensk and hospitality is once again fantastic!
Again we are made most welcome by the local bike club BlagBike. A 21st birthday party is going on for Timofey – kneeling row middle, and we dig into the food on the table, birthday cake included.
Above you see Andrian, Nickname: Cap -for captain with his passion: Honda Goldwing. After having served for 8 years in the Russian Military in East-german he returned to his home town, as all fell apart with Perestroika. Later he established a good business distributing cold or hot coffee in small cans. You can buy this for a few rubles at every tank-stop. We might meet again at the bikers’ meeting in Ulan Bataar June 11 and 12, who knows. Andrian is a really nice fellow.
Later we are interviewed by Dimi’s wife, Yana who is a journalist at Armur Pravda, the city newspaper. Next morning, in the rain, a photo-shoot from the newspaper’s top photograph just returned from Syria. Stay put for the link to the “Blagoveshchensk Truth’ newspaper.