Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sokcho to Vladivostok

5.30am the bunk room lights go on. I am thinking we must be there, that was quick. But no..... pulling a shirt over my face a go back to sleep and play the waiting game.
When we booked our tickets we thought it was going to be a 17 hour crossing. When we had not sen land by 10.00am I asked another passenger who informs us that we will be in Zarubino at 5.00pm. Obviously we caught the slow boat.
Having read abit stuff on the customs procedures and what not entering Russia we are expecting a few problems. This was far from the truth. We breezed through customs with only our hand luggage, filled in a bike declaration form with the help of a friendly Russian customs lady. When we took the bikes off the ferry we again thought we were going to get the once over and have to open up all our gear, again no. In fact the inspection we got was from the army customs guys on the ferry asking about the rim locks in the wheels and what a bike like ours cost in US dollars. We rode to the gate house to meet up with our customs lady and get our release papers, the only hiccup being insurance, which she soon sorted, even though it was 6.00pm. A another lady arrived filled in all the forms for us and we signed them paid a fee of 1122 R (about $50NZ) each. I am not sure what it was but we had for the most part a good experience entering Russia. With day at its end we found lodging in Zarubino.

29 May Saturday Zarubino to Vladivostok

We wake to a foggy chilly morning. A good opportunity to repack the gear on the bikes while the fog lifts.
Fueling up was an exercise on its own and fuel is not so cheap, at 25 roubles a litre ($1.25NZ)
The ride to Vladivostok was at a leisurely pace, taking in the sights and keeping a very careful eye out for potholes and ungraded gravel road which appear with no warning.
Vladivostok is bustling city of people and traffic. We make contact with Rachel form Living Hope and she gives us the name of a hotel to stay at and an invite out to join her and her friends that evening. Getting lost in the city is easy, with one way streets, manic drivers and the problem of decoding street names. We found the Equator Hotel and got settled in. With a small despute over the parking of the bikes all sorted.... you have to pay the security guard to park your vehicle out front....we wait to be picked up by Racheal. The evening was spent at a restaurant with a group of english speaking people, laughter and food which made for a very pleasant change and the meals lets just say not a noodle in sight:)))

1 comment:

mitch said...

Hey Graeme
Sounds like you're having an awesome time. Bet you are having a bit of a laugh with the language barrier at times.We had an excellent time backpacking thru Europe and are now safely back in NZ, with heaps of amazing memories. Look forward to your next update-keep having fun, Cheers Michelle (from 1to1).