After leaving the Crimea we crossed over to Russia with the ferry. Despite a total time of 5 hours on the two borders, the procedure of leaving the Ukraine and entering Russia was relatively painless. Except of course for the heat. In plus 30 degrees weather our already questionable hygiene was further undermined as we found no shelter from the sun in the line ups. Our goal was Gelendzhik where the ever lovely Marina awaited us. The so lovely she even let me hug her despite the fact I had not showered in 3 days and had in fact, not changed my clothes in that same amount of time. (Except for my underwear, they get changed everyday, a luxury I allow myself!)
In a reversal of roles (that I am beginning to understand is rather Russian), Marina and her family refused to accept any type of gift from us, but instead showered us with presents instead. Including sailor hats for the boys, who could not have been prouder of themselves, and they even insist on wearing them whenever we venture out in public without motorcycle gear.
Marina and her drunken sailors:
We did manage to convince Marina and her family to at least cook for them, and we exposed them to a delightful mix of Italian appetizers and Swiss Rösti for the main dish.
We also drank wine from the region, but the family also demonstrated another aspect of Russia that we have yet to adjust to, NO ONE DRINKS! As I am writing this we have been in the country for almost a month, and we have yet to drink our first glass of vodka. A glass of wine, one glass of beer, perhaps two, but the stereotype of Russia as a land of drinkers has been tested and found wanting.
Despite an amazing itinerary that she had planned for us, one aspect we were not looking forward to was a date with the immigration police. But alas, for that story you must wait! I’m saving it for much later! Instead I leave you with pictures of Marina’s first bike ride, where I managed to give myself a black eye (please do not ask) and she became a bike convert!
Height of stupidity: