Sergey and Ira took me on a walking tour of Voronezh but not before Ira got the chance to demonstrate her exemplary culinary skills by whipping up a storm of a brunch. I was served with this delicious baked cake which she made from scratch I was encouraged, not that I needed much you understand to slop huge dollops of cream cheese on the side of my plate and then dunk the cake as it were into the cream. Needless to say it tasted amazing and I tried my very best not to appear over eager when I was offered seconds.
We took a ‘Marshutka’ into the city centre; these are a typical form of transport in former Soviet countries and are basically mini buses which operate in addition to other existing forms of transport such as buses and trams. They can usually sit around twelve people but it’s not uncommon to find fifty or so individuals all neatly packed in like sardines in a tin. While they are a great, cheap and convenient way of getting around they also come with the drawback that in the summer months things can get a touch on the smelly side on board.
A famous Russian rocker
We strolled around the city and even along Karl Marx Avenue before heading down to the river and from there over the bridge to the park which Ira designed. In terms of what a modern park should be it had everything. It’s a park primarily designed for children and if I was thirty years younger you’d have had to drag me out of there kicking a screaming; as an adult it was pretty good too.
The interesting tradition of some newly weds of attach padlocks to fences to signify their love.
By the time we headed back to their apartment I was pretty beat. I’ve found that when I spend a day off the bike and walking it can be a rather strange sensation. It’s not that it’s difficult, it’s hard to explain. I guess you are just using a totally different group set of muscles. My Brooks saddle is very comfortable and I’ve been really pleased with it but it’s always nice to give the old derrière a bit of a rest. Is it right to be able to feel bones in your bum?
I spent the evening looking at more of Sergey’s photos. It’s funny that as I go along my way and meet lots of different people they all introduce me to these new and incredible places that they’ve been and you realize that there are just so many other place that you want to go. I was particularly taken with his pictures of Crimea and cycling through Finland. I loved his pictures of the spots he’d found for wild camping and I vowed to make more of an effort to get further off the road and into fields to find more, lets say picturesque places to pitch my tent. He actually questioned why chose to sleep under roads. I should clear this up, I’ll often do this when I’ve been riding for a long time and really don’t want the hassle of wheeling the bike further off road and also when it looks like it’s going to rain. I don’t want anyone to think I’ve become this kind of human sewer rat!
While we relaxed in the living room Ira prepared a delicious bowl of fresh mushroom soup. I know that makes us sound like really old fashioned blokes taking it easy whilst the woman slaves over a hot stove in the kitchen but I noticed that when Sergey did try to get involved by taking the croutons out of the oven and making a slight mess of it Ira became a little frustrated with him. We all laughed about it and agreed that as men we sometimes are far better at the eating side of things rather than cooking..
I’ve decided to leave tomorrow for the simple reason that I’d like to perhaps spend an extra day visiting the city of Belogrod near the border with Ukraine. So tomorrow I’ll get back on the bike perhaps a kilogram heavier (which wouldn’t be a bad thing) and start the last leg of my ride through Russia.