22.06.2012 - 25.06.2012 24 °C
22nd June Yekaterinburg
Another scorcher. 34deg. Took the car down to the wash & valet this morning and it looks bright and sparkling, didn’t realise it was so dirty. Having a lazy day as it is too hot to be traipsing the streets. Reading books is the order for the afternoon, in the coolness of our room. Mike had a little adventure this morning. After dropping the car off Steve, Tony and we two went to fill in time and had a coffee at the huge shopping Mall in the central city area. There are some amazing shops and the food hall was a bit like Harrods , some fantastic foods. Yummy!! I stayed on to sus out the rest of the place and Mike & the boys went to pick up their nice clean cars. Well Mike got left behind at a set of traffic lights and then his adventure started. 9This is from memory). He could not find the petrol station and ended up quite some miles away. After trying to make sense of maps and hotel names with a Romanian who spoke no English and a Russian who spoke no Romanian he aborted the efforts there. Drove to a hotel (by chance) but nobody at the desk spoke English, so plan B into place. He found a young mother out for a walk with her 1yr old child. Well to cut the story short, she came with him in the car and issued navigation advise and got him back to our hotel. She wouldn’t take any money for her troubles so Mike stuffed some Roubles in the kid’s hand. I was home from my shopping spree and walked to the hotel about half an hour before Mike was back. Later in the afternoon we went for a lovely walk in a pleasant park just down from the hotel, then a group of us found a great Grill & hamburger café to eat dinner. Fabulous ‘Ribs’ and Steaks and freshly made Apple Pie and Ice-cream. Another yum meal.
23rd June Yekaterinburg to Perm.
8am start this morning and it was a bit cooler with a bit of rain early on. Passed and stopped by the Euro-Asian Border monument and had photos, ie, one foot each side, Ha! Easy driving today through the Ural Mountains. They are not much higher than the Bombay Hills but full of minerals and oil. Not that we saw anything much of that from the road we were on. We got a bit lost getting to the Kungur Ice Caves and had a local guy escort us there. How nice was that. A guided tour for an hour through the caves. Quite cold and were glad of our goose down jackets. Not so many icicles about at this time of the year but interesting. Nicely lit in places and pretty lakes etc. Came out to a drizzle then it started to pour. Ate our lunch in the car then on our way to Perm for the night at the Hilton. Rained all the way and very heavy at times. Very posh and a good nights sleep. The whole group ate in the hotel as it was too wet to go out and find a café. Good meal but a bit more expensive than our usual haunts.
24th June Perm to Kazan
We had 700kms to travel today so were on the road by 6am. The hotel had made us all a packed breakfast which we had at about 9am. Boy were we all ready for that. Good roads today and not so much traffic as it is Sunday. Everything started to go wrong. Delays because the Bentley was misbehaving. Then the leaders took a wrong turn and we went round in a big loop. All making our early start good for nothing. Then Mike gets pulled over by the cops as he, and ‘lead’ and a local car had passed a truck on no passing lines. Mike talked quick English and the cop babbled in Russian. I wish I could have heard that conversation. Eventually arrived at 2pm, but was in fact only 4pm, as we have crossed another time zone. But, good sides appear as we were in time to watch the Grand Prix. Ate at the restaurant round the back of the hotel, and ate well, even though some turned up their noses at the food an went into town for a meal. It has been a LONG DAY and are ready for bed after a most excellent bottle of French Wine. Good Night.