Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thank You everyone!

Greetings!
Well as some of You may know, due to the visa situation and the expenses with them, I had to suspend this adventure due to waiting times for these visas (Kazakhstan and Kirghistan at least), which made me arrive late for Alaska (if I could earn founds or had any gift from some airline), making it impossible to visit.
I had my founds counted well for at least reach Australia, and when the money ends, then activate my insurance to return to Portugal.
So I could say that i am proud to survive Russia (was always a myth), but come on! Don't paint it black as many people claim! It was purely normal to cycle in Russia, or Poland or even Germany (of course not having bike routes), so if You behave well and be modest, nothing will happen to You and You will share only the positive things of any adventure You make!
So, i had some lessons, specially for visa bureaucracy, which for me is more for business than real security or border control, and made me think the world we are living, however I don't care about politics, I only care about people and hope to make everyone comfortable when sharing experiences with them!
So, if I don't get married or have a super job or get bored (but this time with extra budget) I may continue this adventure and better planned of course, and this time not depending on anyone (financially speaking of course).
So I can say that I can survive to extreme weather but not to bureaucracy.
Thank You for all the motivation You gave me, to everyone I met on the way, to the couchsurfers who hosted me and made me feel like I never felt before, making me feel soo welcome even if were for few hours! I wished I could stay much longer, It makes me want to repeat the same route with much more days for my hosts, really really thank You! It was really something (right Andrei?)
So for this finale here are some pics of my last day of cycling in Moscow:
Moscow (last cycling day) - Share on Ovi
Russians can speak English! But only with Russian letters :)
Moscow (last cycling day) - Share on Ovi
Moscow (last cycling day) - Share on Ovi
Moscow (last cycling day) - Share on Ovi
One fake photo for some people:
Moscow (last cycling day) - Share on Ovi
If anyone knows this lady please tell her:
Moscow (last cycling day) - Share on Ovi
I had recorded the KLM file of my cycling day in Moscow, so You can see for yourself.
Recommended to use Google Earth.
https://dl.getdropbox.com/u/893829/Moscow%202009-04-25.kml

Also the doubts about trains, I has written here my train parts, but to remove any doubts I say that I had traveled by train between Saint Petersburg (due to visa registration, and safety told by some people), Vladimir-Nizhniy Novgorod (due to possible bad weather and recommendation of my host), Samara-Moscow (getting new Visas and leave Russia), Moscow-Riga (leaving Russia before new visa expires).

And that's it! Thank You for everything! Really thank You! I am really sorry for not be able to continue, but hope that will be done in a very new future.
See you in Portugal (at least)!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And still with Bureaucracy

Ok... As You can see these paperwork stuff is really demoralizing me!
The thing about Kazakhstan was that Portugal has no embassy there and vice versa, so I assumed that I could get the visa at the border.
But this waiting time in Moscow (had to go to the travel agency who made the invitation letter and request new visa for at least leave Russia legally), is really making me change my mind, because asking for new Visa is making increase the expenses and also losing very precious time if I intend to continue.
So... for now i just intend to have the new Russian visa and have enough time to go back to Schengen area.
And now seems that some people doubt about this travel and even with experiences ones say that I have very few baggage. So... to them I suggest: Remove the tent and the sleeping bag and see what You have there. but if the doubts still remains seems I have to remove everything and show them what I have!
About traveling on trains, I said the parts who were done by train! Does people read everything what is written? Even also had You seen ALL the photos?
However.. You can make any questions and investigate if you want! Take Your time!

About leaving Russia, hope to know dates tomorrow, as I go to government office tomorrow with the travel agency (they speak Russian).

Friday, April 17, 2009

And bureaucratic problems just started!

Good evening!
Now that I had arrived to the border (and I surprised of an international border have no one who is able to speak English), and after some hours of waiting, while Russia and Kazakhstan borders were exchanging calls, I think I was still the hero of the day by bringing one Russian officer to the Kazakhstan side, and even so, no one speaking English, they informed that I should get the Visas all in Moscow!
As my Russian Visa will expire tomorrow (and i mentioned that) they said there were no problems in get the Russian part (however they have my Russian visa form, so I was leaving on legal date for Russia).
So and this is quite in a hurry and my first thing to do is get visa extended for Russia, it made me have of the following thoughts (due to finance and had no financial sponsorship or donation):
A: Check the price for train and visa to China, start cycling from Beijing till Singapore and continuing the planned route.
B: Just get the extra days for Russian visa and just come back to European union and just end this attempt of cycling the world.
Well.. that's it for now. Excluding extending the Russian visa, i don't know what to do or where to go, as i believe buying the visas for Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and other permits will empty my wallet (and this excluding the train trip to the border as well).

So.. stats of today: B.Chern. - Border RU/KZ - B.Chern. 114.07km in 6h42m33s, Total:3696.9km AVG: 17.0km/h (Opposite side wind in both ways)
Photo of the day: I saw Kazakhstan! But didn't crossed :(

Bol'shaya Chernigovka - Border RU/KZ - Share on Ovi

Song of the day: Yeah Yeah Yes - Zero

And Yesterday: Samara - Bol'shaya Chernigovka:153.09km in 7h33m50s, Total: 3582.9km, AVG: 20.2km/h (The warmest day I had in Russia, felt like really spring! But I was sooo used to the cold...)

The pic: Diesel power
Samara - Bol'shaya Chernigovka - Share on Ovi



And the song: Likky Lee and Royksopp - Miss it so much

And by the way!! i have to thank Anastassia and her mother for hosting me in Samara during the previous days and also tonight when I need to return to Moscow tomorrow!

And also someone who should i thank Manuel Santos (in Germany)from the beginning of my journey for hosting me some weeks before this quest and also gave me a great help on preparing this trip as well!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Between Moscow and Samara... so many things to tell!

Good evening!
Finally arrived to Samara and with some time to keep the posts updated!
On some places I had no internet, some I arrived late to my hosts and of course, I have to spend more time with my hosts in stead of spending the time on internet! I hope You apologize me for that.
So... here is the update between Moscow and Samara:
________
12 April: Dimitrovgrad - Samara (21th of cycling),
The easiest day for cycle so far! The north wind was a good friend of mine, roads were mostly ok (exception of M5 on the arrival to Samara), clear blue sky and for the 1st time temperatures above 10 degrees! Finally!
The stats was: 162.05km in 7h03m37s, Total:3429.6km, AVG: 23km/h, Not bad I guess!
And the song of the day: REM - Shiny happy people
________
11 April: Ul'yanovsk - Dimitrovgrad (20th of cycling),
A short trip, weather fine, road mostly good but north wind make a trip quite hard, even going down was quite difficult! As well finding acomodation. Alexander found one host for me but was quite late and therefore I stayed in a hotel. 1050RUR was the price. Quite ok for an european citizen.
Stats: 86.58km in 5h04m11s, total 3267.6km, AVG:17.1km/h
Song: Royksopp - Happy up here
And also thank You very much Alexander and her girlfriend for hosting me in Ulyanovsk! Also for the warm socks and head cap! And even tring to find me a host for my future trips! Any help about Europe just ask!
________
10 April: Alatyr' - Ul'yanovsk (19th of cycling),
Well, this time I start thanking for Irina, Husband and the rest of the BIG family and the relatives for everything! I sent my request to Irina, despite she doesn't speak english we still found something to communicate and was really such an experience and that language can be no problem at all to express ourselves!
Had the most original shower or bath or similar, but for them is just Banya, and it is really something! A must try! Then the great cooking with fresh fish and other fresh ingredients, home made spicy vodka, and soooo much to tell about them! I really love them! One of my best experiences so far! And I have to learn Russian as soon as possible for sure! At least i can read some!! Not bad!
About the cycling day! Well.. the morning was quite easy due to a great breakfast, had some ups an down the hills, but on the end of the day... the wind again...
Here is the stats: 171.03km in 9h04m01s Total:3181km AVG:18.9km/h
Song of the day: The Killers - Mr Brightside
_________
09 April: Sergach - Alatyr' (18th of cycling)
Quite an easy day for the pedal, road mostly ok (specially outside populated areas), almost no traffic, many hills on the way, and very relaxing views on the way.
Had stayed on a pension in Sergach (350RUR only bed and shared shower, no breakfast)
Stats: 143.71km in 7h39m10s Total:3009.9km, AVG: 18.8km/h
Song: Muscles - Ice Cream
_________
08 April: Nizhniy Novgorod - Sergach (17th of cycling)
From here I start to see the differences between the M and the other type of Russian roads such as P for example.
The M roads usually have much more traffic and by consequence makes the road conditions not that good! Once I left M7 and got the P162 it was really a big difference! Almost no traffic, road in great condition, much more relaxing! Even the air is more pure and without any dust! And had seen some nice little villages on the way, also interesting bus stops!
Stats: 169.25km in 8h26m26s Total: 2866.2km AVG: 20.1km/h
__________
07 April: Pause day in Nizhniy Novgorod.
Finally a day without rain or snow or other kind of humidity! The city as a great view over the Volga river (the longest of Europe) and I have to thank Anastasia for hosting me there, and as we had spoken on the couchsurfing chat and belonging to our "chat family" I had to make her a visit! It was just too bad that I found her not in her good conditions (as she has to be a week in the hospital, so Anastasia, if You are reading this, the worse has gone! Be patient! Just a few more days! You are strong!
___________
06 April: Train between Vladimir and Nizhniy Novgorod: As my previous day between Moscow and Vladimir had some extreme weather conditions on the afternoon, and as this trip would take more than 230km I decided to choose the safe way and go by train (My visa days are on the count, so I cannot stay more than the expected).
Was still some time to enjoy the snow from the train! At least is much warmer than cycling ate negative temperatures!
I have also have to thank Stephanie and her husband, kids and pets for a kind welcoming on my arrival on which I arrived completely wet and dirty and almost spreading water almost around the house! So, it was my pleasure to fix the toilet WC :) My pleasure! Hope You can save some water now!
Ah, and thanks for guiding me and helping me on the purchase of the train ticket as well!
___________
05 April: Moscow - Vladimir (16th of cycling),
A wonderful morning, sunny, no wind, M7 mostly good, all highway, but afternoon arrived and with them, negative temperatures, snow mixed with rain, mud and lot's of dirt! I think I had a similar day somewhere else! And asking when spring will arrive!
Stats: 198.36km in 9h02m11s Total: 2694.7 AVG:22.0km/h
Song of the day: Rammstein - Moscau
___________
02, 03 and 04 April: Moscow
As written before, my arrival to Moscow was by train at around 6AM and then made a 17km bike trip in direction of my host Andrei. Cycling at 6-7AM there is so fresh, just cleaned and almost no traffic there, and is also nice to enjoy the morning sun with some clouds around, really refreshing!
About my host, I just feel sorry for making him wake up too early 2 times (on my arrival and my early departure), it is really kind from You to let me stay there despite these inconvenient times! However also had my first Banya session with him and his friends, if You are used to Sauna... forget about it! Then had some vodka tasting and of course hang out with his friends and neighours as well! Ah, her girlfriend cooks very well! Very tasty meals!
About the city of Moscow, I guess many of You already know the city or the postcards of it, and I have also to add to the recomendations a visit on the line 5 (or brown or circular) of the moscow Metro and see the art on almost all the stations of this line! The price is just 22RUR, so You will not lose anything! And is really also funny to stay on the rolling stairs and see the amusing faces and the routine in their heads! Seriously a must!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Saint Petersburg and Moscow

Good morning!
At the moment I am in Moscow, after spending some great days in Saint Petersburg (courtesy of my great host Alyona, who had great patiente for hosting me and showing me the city, tell the story of the city and also for the great cooking sessions! Even being vegetarian cooking! And helping me on the purchase of the train ticket to Moscow. Also thanks Katerina as well, also had a goos time with her!)
About the night train it was really a great experience! Staring to ask if I could bring the bike on the train, then telling me to put the bike on the 1st carriage and with all the misunderstandings I putted the bike over my bed and problem solved! It fit's!
My bike on S. Petersburg-Moscow night train - Share on Ovi
Soon I will tell about my arrival to Moscow!
See You!