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Vladivostok > Lesozavodsk 414km > Khabarovsk 439km

Sunshine had been forecast for the next few days but out of nowhere we had rain this morning as we left Vladivostok.  Today we leave the ocean and wont see it again until we reach the Mediterranean.

 

We called in to visit a volunteer organisation, Living Hope.  It was started by a NZ girl, but is now run by Alexander, a Russian.  It provides an option for young solo mothers who have no help, to keep their babies.  They are provided a bedroom, food, clothing for them and their children, as well as teachers coming in and training them.  One of the girls was 17 with a 4 week old baby.  She had been an orphan herself so had nowhere to go when they found her on the streets.  Today she looked so happy, and when I gave her a hug, she just melted into me – I guess something so basic would be something she hasn’t experienced.  Many of the mothers were orphans and so they have no idea on the basics.  They get trained for a job also, and after 18 months they are in a place to live independently and Living Hope follows them up for a while to make sure they are okay.  Orphanages are a big problem here left over from the USSR, and so they are trying to give options.  They exist on donations.  It was touching to see the great work they are doing.

Alexander and Kate, our interpreter

We had prebooked a hotel in a small town but had a real job finding it, even the locals didn’t know where it was when we were right outside it!  After being sent to the other side of town to another hotel that we weren’t happy to stay in, we came back and realised the small dwelling where we were at before, was in fact the hotel.    Our room was big, clean and comfortable, secure parking for the bikes, and there was a restaurant attached, so it all worked out well in the end.

Ordering food is always interesting, our Google Translate app isn’t always helpful.  What would you order off this menu.

At lunchtime we resorted to seeing two meals go past us from the kitchen and said we will have two of those.   To be disconnected with language in a country is one thing, but to be disconnected through the alphabet and not being able to recognise the local words, is a whole new level.

Heading north, the English alphabet is very quickly dropped on the road signs too.

 

Kharbarovsk

We started the day packing the bikes in the rain with a temp of 8 degrees.  The rain was cold and with the wind chill factor, it got much colder.  Unfortunately we don’t have a temp gauge on these bikes.

Kharbarovsk is a beautiful garden city built on a major river, with many buildings from the Tzarist era.

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Typical housing

Often see children having an art class.

I got to pay to use one of these

Something familiar – Harley Davidson Saloon – don’t see much English

The butcher in the supermarket at work – love his meat axe

The countryside is either this – trees – or this …

…flat

 

Russels

7 Comments

  • Sara Pedersen

    Looking pretty good so far. It looks a lot more civilized than I expected.

    June 9, 2017 at 1:26 am
    • Janet & Charlie Russel

      Its pretty isolated up in the north, the villages are very few but there are more gas stations than there used to be, quite a few new ones – they can still be 100km apart. Really great riding, we are enjoying it

      June 12, 2017 at 1:23 am
  • Mark Claasen

    Great report, Very awesome 🙂

    June 9, 2017 at 9:14 am
    • Janet & Charlie Russel

      Great to have you along 🙂

      June 12, 2017 at 1:21 am
  • Tina

    Looks like the riding is not very interesting, is it? But the language is a completely different challenge to South America, right?
    I love your photos – especially the children’s art class. 🙂
    Keep warm.

    June 9, 2017 at 9:34 am
    • Janet & Charlie Russel

      We were just chatting today that overall the riding has been great. More recently the scenery has been changing more, but it is what it is and we just enjoy it. I have learnt a few Russian phrases – dva cafe s miloko nyet sukhara – 2 coffees with milk no sugar, very important haha – but ordering off a menu is a bit tricky at times – herring on fur appeal? that’s how it translated 🙂

      June 12, 2017 at 1:20 am
  • Mike & Kirsten Bryan

    Hi Charlie & Janet – that menu post was real funny….
    I was interested in your comment about buildings from the Tsarist era. I would love to go to Russia to certain places where the jewellery & Faberge eggs from this era are on display. I follow a jeweller in the Jewellery Precinct in Chicago called Romanov Russia who buy & sell Tsarist era jewellery & art pieces. They have some wonderful things. I would like to travel to the Ural Mountains & bring back a green garnet, a Demantoid as a souvenir – very rare & valuable….keep your eye out!

    June 12, 2017 at 11:37 am
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