Sept. 15 (Saratov)

We decided to go to Saratov instead, because we’d like to see Volgograd (Stalingrad) tomorrow. The nice thing about riding around the world with your own motorbike is that you can change your itinerary at a moment’s notice.

There was no hotel breakfast — the hotel Ural was utter crap, the ruins of a soviet era hotel, perhaps it once had some glory days — so in the morning we visited the bazaar behind the hotel. There we bought some water, tomatoes, bananas, and a melon. I wanted to try a Kazakh watermelon for some days now as they are being sold everywhere along the road. The man who sold it to us told me that he did his military service in Hungary, and knew a few words in Hungarian. The melon was very sweet despite being a tad overripe already. The toothache got a bit better since yesterday but it flares up every time I eat something. Good thing we hardly eat during the day.

After that we used my portable pump to inflate our tires … the bumpy roads have caused them to lose about a quarter of their pressure since Mongolia. Then we set off toward the Kazakh-Russian border which was surprisingly painless.

We drove through what seemed like endless sunflower fields to get to Saratov. If the Beetles had been from Saratov Raion, I bet they would have sung about ‘sunflower fields forever’. Everything is enormous here.

We crossed the Volga to get to Saratov. The Volga is …. huge! I am sorry for repeating myself. This city on the Volga shore is reminding both of us of Nice. We are staying in hotel Slovakia (very posh, the first hotel we stay in that has a western standard of quality) on the shore promenade, which really seems like a sea shore. There are massive ships on the river here…like ocean cargo ships.













2 thoughts on “Sept. 15 (Saratov)

  1. Our first fridge was a Saratov (as I already reported) – I hope it means that you’ll find some decent food in there… The Volga must be gorgeous indeed, I look forward to your pictures. I was marking your route on a map, it is already quite an impressive stretch.
    I think if your toothache worsens (I hope not) in the big Russian cites you will also find a dentist that will treat you better than a shaman in the Gobi desert.

  2. We always get in to the cities after sunset which makes it less than optimal for pictures, I took a few anyway, will upload in the next days.

    Yes, just next to the hotel we had dinner at a classy italian restaurant where I had a delicious spag carbonara, plus russky standard against the tooth pain while eating. 🙂

    You know even in Switzerland I have not had much luck with dentists. The fact that this area hurts is just because they messed it up in Zurich and then later the Hungarian doctors in Jestetten were not able or unwilling to properly fix it despite several visits. It is an old “construction site” rather than something new. I think a Kazakh dentist would probably just have pulled out the tooth which I am increasingly confident would be the proper solution. Unfortunately western dentists don’t even consider such simple and inexpensive remedies anymore. By the way, most people have some gold teeth around here, which is a look I could get used to, I think! 😀

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