We´ve be back in Vladivostok Russia for just a week now and ARE quickly reminded why we find this place so special:
ONLY in Russia would you find sunbathers before the ice has even melted
Finish a training session off with a quick DIP
Find a group of bikers who will do ABSOLUTELY anything to give a fellow biker a hand (thank you Russian Samurai´s)
AND find an official BMW mechanic willing to offer his help on a saturday afternoon when he was relaxing at home.
If that was not enough, the component we required to enable us to start our journey to Japan was not in stock in Russia. Not a problem, the manager of the BMW motorad dealership offers the part from his own personal motorcycle.
Thank you RUSSIA
Japan will now wait until early next year as we have since decided to leave our motorcycle in Vladivostok (Russia) for the winter and return in early April 2017 to continue our journey.
With just one hour left before boarding our plane we’d like to share a couple of pics of our last days in Russia.
Many thanks to the guys who have followed us over the past 6 months and to those who have posted a comment every now and then.
We’ll also treasure the many friendships we made over the past months, particularly those in Russia and particularly those who shared our adventure riding the BAM Road and Road of Bones. We’ll miss you guys.
Always a nervous moment as anything can happen during transit!
Great to be reunited with Principessa again.
The final dinner with our Bam and R.O.B friends. Also with Nikita and his wife, a local biker who helped us find storage for our motorcycle.
After battling with the mud and clay for a few days, we finally made it to Magadan!
We’ve since packed the motorcycles into a container and sent them on a ship bound for Vladivostok. From there we’ll depart for Japan.
Russia has been great to us and sits high on the list of our most favourite countries ever!
Road of Bones from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.
The BAM road in the far east of Russia is not for the faint hearted nor for the adventurer motorcyclist looking for a few hours of tough off road challenge’s. What you have instead is 1380 kilometres of obstacles which nature has created over time, to ensure that only the very determined, fit and mentally strong, reach the end of this track that was once called a road. There is also an element of luck, as one strong down pour of rain, a fall from the motorcycle, an impassable river, can bring your adventure and dreams to an abrupt end.
We thank our five companions for their unconditional support, friendship, and many many laughs during this unforgettable eight day adventure!!!
We also take with us many fond memories of the Russian people who live in the forgotten BAM villages along the way (only connected by rail). Although they have very little, they are amongst some of the most helpful, generous and friendly people, we have come across in all our travels.
Blog Video 97 from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.
It is every adventure motorcyclists dream to ride the BAM road in the far East of Russia but only a few dare to try each year. We we’re fortunate to be able to team up with 5 other motorcyiclsts to try our luck at completing this 1380km epic journey on a gravel road which has not be maintained since 1996.
It took us 6 days to complete it, riding 12 hours each day and have only just arrive to the end (a town called Tynda). As we are both too exhausted to compile a video of this adventure just yet, we have instead provided a little taster of us crossing the Vitim bridge two up.
To the best of our knowledge and from what we’ve been told, we are the first couple (two up on the twin cylinder motorcycle) to ever complete the BAM road.
We hope to get the full video up sometime soon.
Blog Video 96 from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.
Siberia´s hot temperatures in summer push locals to bath in any water they can find, even if it’s located on the shores in front of a large working factory.
Another interesting feature of Siberia are the traditional wooden houses, built by the working class people before the Russian Revolution in 1917.
The story tells of artisans who discovered that wood could be carved into intricate designs similar to what the wealthy did with stone.
Unfortunately with the rise of communism, private property ownership ceased and many of these houses became government property, but were not well-maintained and fell into disrepair.
Blog Video 92 from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.
After a fantastic month or so traveling around Central Asia it was time to move onto another far away land ….. Siberia.
Blog Video 91 from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.
We left Samara (a southern Russian city) early expecting to arrive at the Kazakhstan border by midday. Upon reaching what we thought to be the last small village before the border, the road suddenly stopped. Whilst pondering what to do, we were suddenly surrounded by Russian solders who demanded to see our documentation and began firing questions one after the other which we of course, couldn’t understand. After they resigned to the fact that they weren’t going to get any sense out of us, they took our passports and asked (through sign language of course) us to follow them to the army barracks.
Its turns out that this border crossing has been closed for a number of years. After being satisfied that we had not entered Russia illegally (which was their initial belief), they apologised for the inconvenience, offered us food and fuel and then escorted us 150km to the closest functioning border crossing. Fortunately a young Capitan at the Barracks spoke good english and was able to clarify the situation. What started out to be a rather tense situation, turned into a afternoon filled with laughter and tales!
Upon arriving to the border (looked like Bolivia with all the chaos) we were taken to the front of the line, which was about 2 kilometres long. Out of nowhere a Kazakhstan couple offered to help us with the border crossing process. Once legally inside Kazakhstan, Marat and Marina (the couple) kindly invited us to their home for lunch the following day. We of course accepted. Marina cooked us a traditional Kazan dish and we then spent the remainder of the afternoon with many interesting conversations, and of course lots of laughs.
Thank you so much Marat and Marina for welcoming us to your country and to the Russian soldiers who finally got us there.
Blog Video 86 from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.
LENIGRAD (SAINT PETERSBURG)
Starved by Hitler, Terrorized by Stalin and Immortalized by Shostakovich
The German siege ( also knowns as the blockade) of Leningrad lasted 900 days from September, 1941 to January, 1944. During that time 800,000 people, nearly a third of the population at the siege’s beginning, starved to death.
22 September 1941 : Hitler directs that “Leningrad must be erased from the face of the Earth”.
8 November 1941: Hitler states in a speech at Munich: “Leningrad must die of starvation.”
Hitler was so convinced Leningrad would fall quickly that invitations to a banquet in the Astoria Hotel (in Leningrad), were printed in advance but……. Hitler never set foot in Leningrad.
For the heroic resistance of the city and tenacity of the survivors of the siege, Leningrad became the first to receive the Hero City title, as awarded in 1945.
We have been in Russia for over a week and one thing we have already noticed is their resiliense . They accept that their lives are difficult and pride themselves on being able to flourish in conditions that others could not. They definitely take great pride in their cultural heritage and expect the rest of the world to admire it.
We have a long way to go in this land and we are looking forward to every minute of it!
Blog Video 85 from SAMt & Bike Without Borders on Vimeo.