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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Russia - 5 July, 2003

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Aboard Train #006 - Okean (Khabarovsk to Vladivostok) . . . .
Vladivostok train station . . . 766 km (by train)
Vladivostok (Hotel Vladivostok - Visit) N4307.091' E13152.665' 0 meters .
Walk around city . . . .
Finish Vladivostok (Hotel Vladivostok - Visit) N4307.091' E13152.665' 0 meters .

Total (by train):

766 km

Total (other):

19 km

Total:

785 km

 

Weather: Cloudy, cool and windy.  Occasional rain showers in the late afternoon.

 

 

The blaring, scratchy Russian music that blasted out of the loudspeaker rudely awoke us before our tiny alarm could attempt to do the same thing.  What a horrible way to greet a morning.  We are not even able to snooze in comfort in the time before our own alarm let out it's feeble ring, barely audible above the piped in music.  We have an hour to get ready before we arrive at Vladivostok at 8 AM.  We change, complete our morning ablutions and have a light snack before getting our bags ready to unload.  The train slowly winds it's way along the final stretch of track before reaching the station.

 

We let the other passengers get off before we start to unload our many bags.  As we climb down to the platform, we realise why the other passengers had jackets on or over their arms.  It is downright cool, if not cold, here.  What a change from Khabarovsk, which we left 12 hours ago and is north of us.  The biting wind cuts through our thin, summer shirts.  But, we have to live with it, as our fleeces are deep in our bags.

 

Russia03_CD01_25_web.jpg (60239 bytes)

After taking a few pictures around the station, it is time to find our way to our hotel.  One more set of long stairs to navigate, enough to work up a sweat in this cool air, and we have a smooth, if uphill, route to our hotel.  It is not a far walk to the hotel, but we have a long hill to climb.  We decide to walk it and see how it goes.  Well, after our long climb up the hill pulling our bags, Jacqui decides that next time we are taking taxi.  While it is cool out, it is also very humid, so we work up a sweat by the time we arrive at our hotel.

 

We are staying at the Visit Hotel on the 4th floor of the Vladivostok Hotel.  It appears that many hotels in Russia, as far as we can tell, will lease out one or more of their floors to operators who manage their own hotel on that floor.  We head up to the 4th floor and have a pretty smooth check-in.  Despite it being before 9 AM, they give us a room.  Thank God - that gives us an opportunity to drop our bags in the room and take a morning nap.

 

Around 1 PM we decide that we better start to stir and get going, otherwise we will never be able to sleep tonight.  We have some bread, salami and cheese left over, so we have lunch in our room.  Over lunch we turn on the TV and flip through some of the channels and are pleasantly surprised to find Star Sports, which is showing some of the Wimbledon tennis games.  We are glad that it appears we will not have to miss the finals, the only problem is that the commentary is in Chinese and the reception is only in B&W.

 

We head out onto the streets at around 4 PM to explore a bit and see what is going on.  We wander around some of the streets near our hotel, checking out some of the other hotels (the ones we found are more expensive than our present one), seeing what supermarkets and shops are available (they are OK, but not as good as the one we found in Khabarovsk) and finding the available dining spots (plenty of cafes). As we wander, rain comes and goes.  The weather seems to be a bit fickle around here.  Good for us we have borrowed an umbrella from the hotel.  We decide to have an early dinner at Studio Cafe - a modern and hip coffee shop that had decent food at a good price.

 

Russia03_CD01_28_web.jpg (63075 bytes)

Rather than head back to the hotel too early, we decide to check out what is happening down at the Sportivnaya Harbor and beach on the edge of the Amursky Gulf.  It seems to be the happening place.  As we have been wandering around, we have noticed all these US sailors and marines everywhere.  We enter into a conversation with a few of them and discover that a couple of US ships are on a port visit for 4th of July.

 

Just like in Khabarovsk, there seems to be no shortage of beautiful women in Vladivostok and the chilly weather has not stopped them from dressing to kill.  Despite the biting wind, many are wearing mini-skirts, transparent blouses and other attire more suitable for a club in a tropical country.  This port visit by the US navy ships is certainly resulting in a cultural exchange between the sailors and the local women!!!  Jacqui is also glad to have the handsome men in uniform around - now Lars has something to be jealous about!

 

As we wander along the beach front and along the pier, we come upon one of the many beer and food stalls where an Uzbek man is grilling and selling shashlyk and plov.  These were some of our staple foods in Central Asia and it was fun to try to have a chat with the man.  His English and our Russian were limited, so it did not go much farther than us telling him that we had visited his country and him making us sit down and have some tea and chat with one of his friends from Uzbekistan.

 

Russia03_CD01_29_web.jpg (56528 bytes)

After finishing our tea, we made our way back along the beach to the square in front of the stadium and on the beach.  We decide to grab a seat at one of the many beer stands and have a drink and watch the crowds ebb and flow around us.  After sitting there for a while, we decide to head back to the hotel and see if the Wimbledon women's final is showing on TV.  We are not sure what time it is starting.  Once back at the hotel, we relax and work on our journals while waiting for the game to start.  It begins a bit after midnight and we stay up to watch it to the end.

 

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