This structure looking like a miniature Eifel Tower is the geological border between Asia and Europa, 17 km west of Ekaterinburg. I passed there on Tuesday on a hot day.
A Russian couple was there at the same time and offered to take a photograph of me straddling the two continents.
It was early morning already burning hot. Here I filled my water bottles from a bore hole. Due to the permafrost the water that came out was icy cold. One could hold your hand only for a few seconds in the water so cold it was.
From midday I was suffering. My water was warm and I didn’t manage to hydrate myself properly. At this bus stop I lay down on the dirty floor and slept for a few minutes. My mouth and my tongue stayed dry.
Just after two I knew I couldn’t ride further. I found a dirty room with dirty bedding in this building next to the road. I took a shower to cool off and then followed a hot and feverish sleep.
I first have to tell the story of the sheep now. I had a wet towel over me to cool my body down. I had the weirdest fever dreams, rolling around on the bed. Then I heard a flock of sheep.
In our KLR group is a guy, Doc KLR is his nickname. He loves sheep. He asked me to send him a photograph of Russian sheep. Until then I haven’t seen any sheep, only goats. And there, below my window, was a whole flock of sheep.
I quickly dressed myself, grabbed my camera and went outside to take the promised photograph for Doc. I got outside. It was still hot as hell. I walked around the building, and nowhere was any sheep to be seen. I looked everywhere. There was NO sheep!
And till today I do not know whether the sheep was part of a fever dream or not. I was so sure that they were real.
Sorry Doc. I will try again.
For two days I didn’t feel like eating. The food sold next to the road was mostly oily, and the idea of oily food made me nauseas. For quite a couple of days I was craving for fresh fruit. And then in a “magazin” in a bigger town I found apples and bananas. Heaven on earth!!
Later the week I rode through a village. This lady was painting the fence in front of her house. Her geese were like dogs around her.
The “magazin”, grocery shop, in this village.
Take a guess what this wooden structure is used for.
I rode through areas with many of these oil pumps. This one wasn’t pumping but close by was one busy pumping black gold from the earth.
My South African friends, try to guess the city names in the right order. Then imagine yourself riding, a direction board coming up with four, five of these names, and then quickly you have to decide which way to follow. Not so easy.
I wanted to get closer to the magic Volga river. The only way was through the veld.
I was standing on a cliff, and below the yacht passed us. I couldn’t get closer to the Volga than that. Next time I will ride to get to this spot early evening and then camp there.
The windows of the wooden Russian homes are really beautiful.
It was in this village where the KLR did its 100 000th km. However, I will also remember this village as the one where people still have to fetch water from a well higher up in the street. We with all our luxuries (which I appreciate now more than ever before).
While trying to pass a city I missed / misread a signboard again and ended up lost again. I knew I had to go west so I went west. I rode through an industrial area filled with refineries, crossing many rail lines, and then, much later, I found my way again. My non-existing ability to speak Russian is a huge obstacle in asking for directions.
I loved the colours of the ripening wheat field.
At one of the road stalls the lady offered mushrooms in various forms in these bottles.
In Russia and Siberia forests with birch trees with their typical white trunks cover huge areas. At dusk the white trunks look like fog coming up from the ground.
In Russia and Siberia there are many crosses, flower bouquets and other structures marking the spot where loved ones were killed in accidents. This morning I took this photograph. I wonder whether it was a biker killed at this spot. Surviving on Russian roads is not always easy.
I am on my way to St. Petersburg and the Amber Room, which was my dream destination during my 2008 ride. I have about five days’ ride over (and to survive) before I can at last see the completed Amber Room. I hope to reach the Arctic Circle in Finland within the next twee weeks or so.
Greetings from the far north where the days refuse to go over in solid black nights (I miss proper long nights!).