The trip from Astrakhan to Rostov on Don was straight forward if a little tedious.I had to go back to Volgograd which meant an early (0400) start and was into Volgograd about 13 30. Having left my luggage at the station I went off to a cafe I had used when in town . I had no sooner sat down than one of the waitresses came up and said you left this last time you were here , it was the luggage token from the hotel.What was amazing was that i had only been in the cafe some 5/6 times and it was a week since the last time. good to find an honest and interested member of staff.
I have to say giving back the token to the hotel was more difficult with questions about had I paid the storage charge had I proof of I D etc ,in the end I just put the token down and left.
That day is the 1 st day I have had any stomach problems , nothing drastic just out of sorts.
I think it is just the heat , still felt better as the day went on. Over night to Rostov which proves to be about the size of Volgograd built in the same way on one bank of the river which rises up a couple of hundred ft above the river while the opposite bank is flat to the horizon .
What was interesting is that the steppe north of Astrakhan is of very poor quality with hardly any trees or agriculture while that north of Rostov is very fertile with lots of trees and intensively cultivated .A lot like east Anglia.
The hotel was hard to find especially as the taxi man dropped me well away , like 400 yds with no directions. However Russians are great at helping and within minutes I had a detailed instruction. It was worth it as the hotel is very new in what is at 1 st looking a rather dodgy neighbourhood.On closer inspection it obviously has been very run down , like the rest of the town but is now pulling itself out with the usual Russian building boom.
The most spectacular thing is the market which must be 10 times the size of Bury and very busy . The town has a feel of Paris with wide tree lined streets and the usual Russian parks.
I went to the Museum which reminds me of the one in Bury when I was a lad worthy but not very informative .They have lots of mature ladies to direct you round.Later I was photographing a spectacular piece of Socialist Realism street art when one of these ladies recognised me from the museum and started to tell me about Cossacks. Unfortunately in very fast Russian so all I could say was spaciba at intervals. I am not sure whether it is my charisma or white legs that make me so recognisable!!
Yesterday I went for a sail on the river which is very busy with commercial traffic all of which are sea going size . The anglers wade out to within 50 yds of the main channel which must make the sport exciting at times.
I had hoped to go to Azov today but the ladies at the station wouldn't sell me a ticket I don't know why as they just said NYET . That's life here some times. It has rained today so perhaps I am better here in town . Well I leave Russia on Wednesday for the Ukraine it has been great if at times challenging ,lots of love John