We set off from Chita at 6.30am unsure of how far we would get due to the reported road works but we are grateful they were not as bad as we had expected. Some drivers were a bit too keen when the road got good again… We were second on the scene, everyone else stopped, checked everyone was ok and quickly went on their way again – hopefully a little slower…
After leaving Chita and continuing our journey westwards, we noticed a sudden change in the ethnicity of the people, their attitude towards us, and towards life too I think. We got an instant sense of contentment, belonging, curiorisity, enjoying what they were doing.
We had a massive riding day, 626kms from Chita to Ulan-Ude, exhausting but it felt great, my favourite riding day and we knew it would allow a full day’s rest here.
Rest meant exploring for half a day and spending the second half doing administrative work – starting the process for our Uzbek and Iranian visas, that takes so long, bike checking, dealing with software issues etc.
Here are some images of our day today (wifi here is the best so far in Russia!):
For anyone passing through the region, we both highly recommend taking a day to visit this gorgeous town. We could have gone to Lake Baikal but chose to get more of a sense of Ulan-Ude and its people instead. And we are very glad we did.
The day runs away from us again and we feel we have done a fraction of what we wanted! We have experienced so much, yet our blogs only capture mere snipets. The most poignant moments however will remain as powerful images in our minds and memories as we do not take photos of them, which we can’t describe appropriately to give them credit. Such as the old lady, a medal pinned to her chest, walking along the old soviet era monument, looking up to it, then slowly walking on. What were her thoughts, memories, experiences?? We will never know but we will remember her. Or the beautiful sight, amongst the pure and moving chanting in the church, of a young woman, staring into the distance through the candles in front of her, praying. Or the images of a woman on her own, dressed for work presumably, waiting for a bus out in the middle of nowhere in Siberia.
We have enjoyed our time in Russia, the people we have met, their generosity, the roads, just not the horse flies!! We are heading for the Mongolian border just south of Kyakhta tomorrow – let the real adventure begin! Wish us luck…