What exactly does Kazan have to offer?
|Travel From||–||Kazan, Russia|
|Ending Location||–||Kazan, Russia|
|Miles Driven Today||–||0 Miles|
|Total Trip Mileage||–||5808 Miles|
|Countries visited Today||–|
|Countries visited on trip||US, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Estonia, Russia|
Let’s check on the bikes
The bikes spent the night outside. So, as good caretakers, we made sure to lock them up, and secure them every way possible. Before we left for a day of sightseeing, I took this picture.
There will be no riding today, so we won’t belabor the point…
Sightseeing in Kazan
The Kremlin (Kazan)
The Kremlin in Kazan is setup like the other Kremlins that we’ve seen so far. That includes the St. Petersburg Kremlin, of course, the Kremlin in Moscow, and now this Kremlin, located in Kazan. In essence, think of the Kremlin as a stone wall, with defenses atop of it, that protects many buildings, and the leader of the area in question.
Inside of this Kremlin, there is a Mosque, and a Christian Cathedral, as well as the palace of the President of Tatarstan, some street vendors, and a museum, just to name a few of the buildings inside of these walls.
The Mosque is quite beautiful in side, with much gold and blue accents, used just about everywhere. I don’t know much about the Muslim faith, but inside the Mosque, we found someone, sitting in a glass-walled kiosk, looking at the Koran, and a PC monitor, and singing or reciting some text. The sound of the recital is quite mesmerizing, so I recorded a short video.
The Mosque was quite breathtaking inside.
In and around the Kremlin
Outside of the Kremlin, and just up the road there is a pedestrian walking street, on the banks of the Volga river, which has some 40 restaurants, and shops. Our tour guide dropped us off at this place, and told us he’s meet us for dinner at 6:00 PM this evening.
I strolled the promenade and found a noodle shop, and ordered some glass noodles, with Chicken. I know, this is not exactly local food, but I wanted something simple, and the noodles seemed like reasonably healthy fast food.
Tonight’s dinner is at a Tatarian restaurant. After a 20 minute cab ride, we arrived at the Tatarian village. This is a small, recreation of a typical Tatar villiage, and it includes a restaurant, craft shops, and some beautiful gardens.
Arriving at the village, we are immediately confronted with a model of an Uchpuchmar, a traditional Tatari pastry. The pastry is filled with meat and potato, but its better if you hear it from Rustof, our guide, and a member of the office of construction in Tatar.
When we arrived at the restaurant, and were seated, the first several courses were already laid out for us. They included salads, meats, pastries, breads, and drinks. This was followed with a soup course, and a main course, which we think was Borsch, and then we ended with desserts, and tea.
During the meal, we had water, flavored water, beer, wine and Vodka. If this sounds like a lot to you, you’re not alone. This meal was overwhelming, and while I generally enjoyed it, I cannot say that everyone felt the same way. Nevertheless, it was certainly an evening to remember.
Back to the hotel
A quick cab ride back to the hotel, a little time spent on the Blog, and off to bed.
What will tomorrow bring
Starting tomorrow morning, we have a new member of the team joining us. His name is Alex, and he’s a Russian guide, who will help us with logistics, translations, border crossings, etc. But, to be honest, our two guides, Marc and Mike have done an amazing job of getting our point across and asking questions to all of the Russians along the way. They know enough to get by in almost any situation, and then there’s always Google Translate, and the Speak & Translate app I have on my iPhone. Without these two apps, and Google/Apple maps, I’d be completely lost.
This evening, prior to dinner, we were presented with a choice. It seams that we can take a Northern or Southern route to our destination. The Southern route will stay mainly on highways, while the Northern route will take us through small villages, and we’ll also have to traverse a section of gravel, which is about 18 kilometers in length. While there are a few folks that have very limited time on gravel, everyone agreed to take on the Northern route, unless there is rain in the forecast. With rain, some roads can become virtually impassable, even on the BMW GS.
The problem is that if the dirt turns to mud, because these bikes weigh so very much, it can become almost impossible to traverse mud covered trails. Even the most skilled of riders has had to resort to having the bike shuttled in a 4WD vehicle when this happens. Given that some of the folks are going to experience dirt and gravel for the first or second time, it’s not a good idea to put them through this, unnecessarily. So, we’ll make our final decision the morning.