Our ride into Samara was not planned. We had thought it would be better to stay at a pension or the like in the town prior to it, as we hoped to be able to avoid the traffic of another major Russian city. But the people of the town laughed at us when we asked for Internet. (Literally, we asked like 10 people, 3 ran away shaking their heads, 2 looked horrified at the prospect, and the other half laughed). Even the nice guys who gave us tea leaves they had just collected in the park, (insisting a little too adamantly that we were not to smoke them, just drink them) told us that if we needed internet we were to go to Samara.
Tea leaf family:
The traffic was as bad as anticipated, worse in fact. I wanted to grab a picture of the city sign for my friend Samara, but I valued my life a little too highly to stop. I also discovered I had no idea how to work Russian roundabouts, and the fact that Russians also have no idea how the round abouts worked did little to put my mind at ease over my inadequacy.
A quick search at an Internet cafe turned up JK Hostel, the one and only hostel in the city. They also had Internet, it was good enough for us. Turned out to be one of our best discoveries in Russia.
We pulled up in front of the door (a rather scary looking door in all honesty, that promised nothing good inside) to be greeted with a cry of “ Are you a friend of Peter??? Will you be staying with us?” Turns out that there was a Dutch biker staying there, and the overlap was pure coincidence. But what Peter had discovered and we were about too was Samara’s best kept secret.
Through the dodgey door and up the creepy stairs led to a hostel of absolute luxury. Everything was brand new, the dining room and kitchen amazing and the bathroom had a shower that I did not want to come out from.
Not your normal hostel shower:
But perhaps the best part were the owners themselves. A wealth of information on where to find the best beer (next post), and best restaurants in town, rather than feeling like we were paying guests I felt like we were staying with friends, except friends who did not mind when you spent the entire day on the Internet.
Creepy door but coolest hostel owners ever:
If you are in Samara, with or without your bike, I can not recommend this place highly enough! And they are biker friendly!!!