From Moscow to the border!

On 24 June, we arrive in Moscow very early in the morning. We gently discover the city by bike; a city that wakes up just. The opportunity to see the famous Red square at 7 o'clock in the morning, empty of its usual stream of tourists: top!

Moscow!

After this quick morning tourism, direction our host Warmshower Stas who lives about ten kilometers from downtown, to submit all our gear before that he left work for more leisurely sightseeing.

Visits

Short, then we spend two days visiting the capital, on foot or on bike, under a blazing sun, or a little rain.

-Visit the famous Kremlin and its place of the cathedrals with a Korean met in the Trans-Siberian railway. The Kremlina city within the city, which has seen through the history of Russia for centuries and which is today the center of power Russian politics.
-Red square, so beautiful! but we won't see any greatness as it is these days instead of a grand festival of the book. Ah the book in Russia! It is an object that is expensive to the Russians and their education is highly focused on literature. Then a festival book deserves to take place on the most famous square of Russia (and one of the most beautiful squares in the world some would say)
-Boulevard that surrounds the city, transformed into a park and where it is good to walk around at night.
And then, our favorite:
-Gorky Park, where many animations are installed; our favorite? Huge Ottoman where we spend a moment to bask in the Sun.
- And then, on a bike, you climb the Hill in the direction of the University, one of the large Stalinist tour of the city. This building is particularly impressive by its austerity - the image came from the book 1984 ! Nevertheless, student life is there, it is the season of graduates and we cross students dressed in Toga.

Paris in Russia?

The city centre of Moscow reminds me lot in Paris, and at several points.
Already, a centre with beautiful buildings, loads of history. And a modern life that takes place in these places who for centuries see scroll styles and eras.
And it's also the luxury that is ubiquitous - big cars that shine, luxury, held clothing shops classes...
And finally, we find the same heavy traffic of cars, and crowded subways.
Short we strangely feel some benchmarks here!

After two-day marathon to the discovery of the Russian capital, we take a train at night in the direction of the ancient capital: Saint Petersburg!

Saint Petersburg

This week, we swapped our tent, for more space and comfort in a nice apartment; because this week is homecoming! My parents come find us; 9 months that we not seen in true (luckily Skype allows reducing the distance). In addition they do not come empty-handed and arrive with a cargo of cheese and charcuterie that will put our taste buds into ecstasies!

And then, it is culture !

-one free walking tour to get acquainted with the city and its history. Exciting!
- and simply walk in the city over the week, in the middle of this city steeped in history.

-The the Peterhof Palace ; After a trip to France, Peter I - called also Pierre the great, the founder of St Petersburg and the first was having its capital - ordered to raise a grandiose Palace that would exceed in beauty of Versailles. It is true that there is an air of Versailles in everything!

-the Peter and Paul Fortressin the heart of the city, built in 1703 by Pierre Ier (him again!). In the fortress, the Cathedral where are buried all the Russian emperors since Pierre the great; his prison that has seen the biggest opponents to the regime before the Russian revolution (Dostoevsky, Trotsky, Gorky)...

churches and monasteries : where once more it has been impressed by the importance of religion among the Orthodox Russians. And as in Greece we found these churches so rich... Opulence of the Church which always somewhat us cringe...
-apartment of Puchkine: that all Russian major Russian writer knows almost by heart.

The arts and the Russia... so it's literature; but it is also the dance! And we had the chance to go see a magnificent new Mariinsky theatre ballet. Even Thomas loved!

In short, thank you much parents for this beautiful stay in Saint Petersburg!

In the saddle!

Friday, July 3, it recovers in the saddle. Small passage the "doctor" for Thomas bike, and it's gone!

GOPR5000-1

Small game: can find you in what movie this street is famous?

Let's ride 3 days before joining the border along more or less the sea. Sea forces, the wind is often present, despite the surrounding forests. During these 3 days in Russia, we much rode in the middle of dense forests, which sometimes suggested the sea. Pretty pretty forest, full raspberry, small flower - me, it reminded me forests du Vercors - but monotonous after a while.

In the villages crossed, homes are all wood, Apple trees and vegetable gardens in the gardens. It's mimi! But ultimately, what we preferred these days there are bivouacs in the evening. The beaches, regularly found on free camping areas, with barbecue, tables and toilets. Many Russians come to spend the day or the weekend. So, when you ask advice to the premises to find a nice place, whatever their age, are not surprised by our request and have good ideas!

On the other hand, the night in the tent under these latitudes beginning July... well it's not really night! The sun sets at 2230 and rises about 3:50, and it is never really dark; We wake up several times per night because of the light. It is a beautiful experience!

Russian generosity

Our last 24 hours in Russia will remain in memory. On Sunday, July 5, 60kms before Narva the Estonian border, we ask Council in the small town of Ust Luga to the tent. A young couple shows us a place at the edge of the River, and then we begin to discuss a bit more; in the end, they offer us to come home. But Thomas is rather reluctant, the husband feels alcohol and told that the evening is likely to be a bit "long". He finally convince us about the Banya. And you will not regret!

Behind a little cold air and a little smiling temperament (normal for Russians eventually!), Alex, his wife and their 13-year-old daughter, will be caring for us until the next morning. After a tour of the garden of the property, and a good dinner, on file in the Banya. It is entitled to the whole tradition of Banya : sauna (wet) a few minutes, then vigorous whipping with branches of leaves, and bucket of cold water at the end - a few minutes of breaks, and we start again! Phew, after a day of cycling, it's invigorating! The Banya, more wet as the sauna that is used, it is really nice - if, if!

After that, the then to the dodo. In short, a family in gold with which are well exchanged. The smells of alcohol felt initially were the remains of a well watered Saturday night, including the poor Alex will pay expenses with his mother worried sermonts and earthquakes Monday morning - alcoholism is a true scourge in Russia; as a reminder, the life expectancy of men is 64.3 years versus 76.1 for women! Former alcoholic on a daily basis, a festive evening is not without consequence for him today.
We leave them all excited after this so generous home.

The last day on the road is done quietly, in a campaign which opens a little more, there are fewer trees. The beginnings of what we discover in Estonia, but in less well. Follow!

Various:

-the Russians like the french in general. Perhaps should it be to Pierre Ier that French culture was important? In short, in any case, several times people told us well love the french. And even once: "your country? -French - ah, French, good! Americano: not good! "Purpose English: good!"
Suddenly it has realized that the french are still popular in many countries of the world.
And it is asked the question: in general, the french, what other countries they like? Ben it has not managed to find an answer... The Frenchtoo arrogant?

DCIM102GOPRO

Russia-Estonia border!