I celebrated the New Year in Onomichi and my 32nd birthday in Kushimoto in Japan at 2011 and the year 2012 and my birthday in Ankara Turkey. I was in Moscow when I was celebrating this New Year. Well, guess where the heart of the New Year celebrations will be in Moscow, of course at Red Square. So, Let’s go. We went to Red Square with Orhan and his cousins who were also in vacation. The security barricades surrounded the whole area of the Square. We could only enter passing after 6 different security barriers. Albeit it was minus 15 centigrade, the Square was filled up with people. Waiting for hours for the firework couldmake you sick. We thought to sit in a café outside the Square but the barricades were closed. It was not allowed, neither entering nor leaving. Dude, I could understand that you won’t let people enter in when it gets crowded but why don’t you let people out? Anyway, after a while they only let the people with passport in. In this country people have no ID card. Everyone has a passport and driving a license.
Every single person has a passport in Russia. A passport valid for 10 years costs 513 TL in Turkey. The most expensive passport belongs to us. With a CHIP hahaha. As if it was made by golden handwork J. Dude, what is 523 TL ?. As far as I remember, our passports were always expensive. I remember, as I was 16-17 years old I was thinking to go abroad and was surprised as I heard the passport prices. Moreover, I was scared. What an adverse impact this leaves on a teenager? Just stay where you are, f… it!!!. No need to go abroad. You start to understand the situation when you go abroad and look back to your country. For years we hadn’t been let to go abroad. Why should the passport be so expensive? Alright, it may be a good income for the government. But, why not to equate the prices to those of Europeans, you have a population of already 80 million. The ones having the opportunity and potential can travel abroad, don’t scare the teenagers. I think that the cost of this piece of leaflet won’t be higher than 15 TL, the pressers would know better. Alright, formerly it was expensive to hinder us to go abroad but now it became a habit, I guess. Its price was raised again recently, I got my passport for 415 TL. The amount of raise was 100 TL, ugh. “Don’t travel? There isn’t anyshit outside. Why to travel abroad, will you persuade the folks mind? You would reminder the long forgotten themes or bring up never ever known ones. DO NOT TRAVEL!!!!” The teenagers of this folk should travel and I am going to help them, even though in small amounts, but I will definitely. “Gurkan Genc Voyager Grant” will support young travelers with flight tickets, bus tickets or support any part of his/her project. Being on the road may result in a good collection of memories. Then, just travel in Turkey and tell what you have seen, experienced. I may sponsor you a trip on Silkroad with the accumulated money. Let’s see from your eyes. YOU SHOULD TRAVEL. The people of future executives of this country should travel and experience other cultures!!!
Well without tent, I was not able to keep moving. Well then.. The time came to renew the equipments. I had also some other missing parts of equipments. I needed to complete them. One of the t-shirts made by Atılım University special for me, lithium batteries from Globalstar Eurasia, one pair of winter tires from Efor Bisiklet, one pair of shoe cover and a new tent from The North Face. Two thermos bottles from Atlas Outdoor. As Ayca told me that she is going to fly to Moscow, she became my life saver J. We won’t want to keep busy the cargo of Foreign Ministry. Ayca came to Moscow able to gathering all the equipments in a short time of 3 days.
Now, when a woman with a heavy working life shows up, traveling becomes a complicated matter. She planned the sightseeing event in detail for every single second. First came the Red Square and the museums there. We, immediately, took the subway and came to the station within a short time. We couldn’t decide with exit to take, since there were a couple of exits. Egad.. Just follow the family, they are going to visit the museum with their son, for sure. That sounds the most logical. Taking several corridors we exited the subway at the end. I know where we are by the way, we are unfortunately at the far rear corner of the Red Square! Yep, this formula turned out to be wrong J Well, the family was not taking their son to the museum and for god’s sake look where we are now.
-Aaaa Gurkan, we ran into Bolshoi Theatre.
-Now that we came here let us buy tickets for the weekend.
-Okk. Then just join the queue.
Mate! We are waiting in a line again. The door is far away from us. We need one or two hours to come there.
-Gurkan stay in the line, I just go and get some information and will be back.
There is a little street between the theatre building and the ticket counter. It is really very crowded in front of the counter. Bolshoi means big in Russian. Opera and ballet performances are held in big theatres. There is a similar building in Saint Petersburg also, the Bolshoi Kammeny Theatre. Drama performances are not held in these hall, however. These are performed in smaller theatres, Maly Theatres. The both Bolshoi Theatres are worldwide well known. The one in Moscow was built at 1824 and the one in Saint Petersburg at 1886.
The first opera was performed during the era of Selim III in Ottoman Empire. Selim III was famous for his interest in music and poetry. Between the years 1761-1808 opera performances were held only for the special quests of the palace. A separate building was built for such performances and unfortunately it had not showed a parallel development to that of the educational one. The first big theatre, the “Great Theatre” was built in 1933 as an exhibition center and then turned into theatre in 1948 where opera and ballet performances are being held since then in Ankara. I went several times to this theatre. Lastly I was there to see the ballet performance of a friend of mine. There is a gap of 124 years between Bolshoi Theatre and us. Wow..
-Gurkan, I found two seats but need more money, 6000 rubles.
-What? How much costs a ticket actually?
– Whoa! What are you saying?
A ticket costs 355 TL. This makes the difference of 124 years. The prices of tickets change between 35-45 TL in Turkey. Ok, we got the tickets but there is another trouble. What about our dresses. We didn’t plan to go to theatre today. We only wanted to buy a ticket but the performance is for today. The performance to be held on weekend costs 600 TL. I travel through a whole country spending that much money, unbelievable. You must follow the opera etiquette. You cannot enter Bolshoi with daily outfit, the probability you will be prevented from entering is high.
We both having sports outfit entered the lounge. Again the cloakroom, but this time the situation is different. Women, men, children started to take off their boots and changed elegant shoes. The hairs of the women were dressed, some men had a bow tie. Women were elegant is their formal dresses. And we… We were wearing vibram boots, gore-text jackets and trousers. We caught eyes of everyone. Maybe we will not be allowed to enter in. But we are lucky because of being in holiday period. There was no empty place to seat. Every single place was occupied. All tickets were sold.
-Ayca I hope we have got good places.
-I don’t know Gurkan. I cannot read what is written on the tickets.
Our places were in middle of first line of the hall
I am watching one of the best performances, the Nutcracker of Tchaikovsky in Bolshoi Theatre in one of the well known theatres.
There are two old women on one side of us, on the other a family with their 10 years old daughter. Let’s watch how the performance is.
I wouldn’t be able to talk about how the performance, the presentation, the music were. I have never ever seen such a stage performance, a synchronicity, a presentation, a music, a talent, an acting. I’m wordless. Did I over exaggerate? I don’t think so… After the performance we both were wordless. Ayca and me were fascinated. It was as if we were in a dream and just awakened. Your face such fascinating opportunities only very occasionally in your life. While leaving the theatre, I thought how good I did traveling around the world. Otherwise, there would no way in my life for me to come to Moscow and watch a performance in Bolshoi Theatre. I also would like to thank Ayca ones again. It was fascinating. If you ever would like to go to Moscow, you must definitely attend a performance in the Bolshoi Theatre. Yes, it may be a little expensive but you will never forget this amazing performance in your life.
We dedicated a whole day to explore the subway. As you see on the map, it is impossible to investigate the whole subway in a day. We stopped at every station on the brown line you see on the map above. The brown circle. But, why?
Let’s come to the matter.
The subway of Moscow was built in 1935. The first line had a route length of 11 km with 13 stations. The subway reached a route length of 313 km and 188 stations by 2012. Furthermore, about 6 stations on Kenvinskaya line was specially built to function as air-raid shelters for possible nuclear attack. All stations placed within the circle line were built between the years 1932-1952. The best parts of the subway are the stations’ decorations by the famous designers and art workers of the period. Once you enter the stations you feel yourself as being in a museum. Moreover, the aeration system is working excellently recirculating continually fresh air at the same temperature independent of the season whether winter or summer. Russians, in all honesty, constructed an excellent subway. By the way, if you make your sightseeing by subway one way ticket costs 1.5 TL. If you plan to go around get a smart-card which is much cheaper. On top of it, you would also see many museums J. In Ankara, prized for European Capital, we have also a subway having only two lines with a route length of 23 km and 22 stations, which means we were only able to mimic the period of 1938 of Moscow as an European capital. One way ticket costs about 1.75-2.00 TL or so.
Gorki Park is one of the most popular places among Muscovites. A real space shuttle is parked along the river. Hahaha. A space shuttle in the center of the city. You can see a space shuttle with your own eyes. Gorki is a huge park with bicycle roads and many cafes. Hey look! There is a snowboard track. A real track designed and built by park specialists and professional snowboarders in the center of the city. As I mentioned before, the Russians really know how to turn a city into an attraction center.
The next place in our program was the grave of Nazim Hikmet, one of the musts in Ayca’s list. We were at 17:02 at the cemetery but it had closed at 17:00. We were not allowed to enter. The next day we went to the cemetery once more. As you enter the cemetery you see a large board with a names list written in Cyrillic and no Latin. We got some help from Uncle Google and found the name of Nazim in Cyrillic. After finding his place from the list we started to go towards his grave. But, unfortunately, we were late again. It was 16:50 and the cemetery was about to close. Huh…If we get late they will lock us inside the cemetery J. I look around and around but I cannot find the grave. The cemetery is about to be closed but Ayca is persisting to find the grave! Egad, it must be somewhere around. Well, since I’m already here, I pray for all resting here and turn back to the exit. I’m not going to seek the grave throughout the night. There, Ayca is speaking to a policeman. He speaks in Russian, she half in English half in Turkish and I’m watching them. When you observe such a case from outside it looks really very funny. Meaning, I always look like this also, hahaha. He described a different place. Anyhow, we went there and it was really there.
For the ones who wonder where the grave stone of Nazim is and how to get there, let me give the address in detail. You ride on the beautiful subway of Moscow and get off at Sportivnaya station. At the exit you will see Novodevichy Monastery signboard in front of you. Turn to the direction it shows and walk to the end of the street. Turn to right, then to the left from the first corner till you reach the monastery. After you enter the cemetery count 142 steps, then turn to the left, count 42 steps and there you are. I wrote in such a detail, because there might be no one who could explain the address. By the way, almost all the distinguished persons of Russia are resting here. The diversity of the grave stones catches your attention. One of the grave stones was made of a huge rock with surface inscriptions.
During my stay here some other matters caught my interest also. For example, you usually see mothers with their children alone. It is almost impossible to see a Russian pair hanging around as a family. You don’t see the fathers. This caught my attention extensively. The information I got from Orkun who is already a Muscovite and Orhun our press counselor: Every year 80 % of the pairs get divorsed. They want to have children after a certain age, but many Russian women get divorsed after birth to a child. Mostly the reason is violence to female!! ( I will never ever be able to understand this!! How could anyone be such rude to a woman? You are a human being with a brain, what you do is listed at the top of the dimwitted things). Neither the grandmas nor the mothers of the young girls have a husband. Well, then it would be impossible to expect a husband within the new generation. But everybody seems to be pleased with this situation. Even divorced, a woman feels as easy as to have a second baby from her ex. The logic for having the same father for both children. Even, there are ones marrying and then divorcing right after giving birth to a baby. The government gives a budget to the ones having a child, which increases two or even three folds for the second and gives a parcel of land after the third one. But why? Because, the population is rapidly aging. Furthermore, due to high immigration rates the number of Russian population is drastically decreasing. Therefore, president Putin is mentioning the subject of giving birth in his every speech saying “children are the future of our country and we will give support to promote birth”.
Well, good to go. I visited Moscow, said goodbye to everyone, it is time to leave. The outer skirts of Moscow from downtown span 32 km. I had thought to leave at 7:30 am to avoid the heavy traffic and taking benefit from city light in the dark and I did so. As I reached the outer skirts the lamp posts came to end. Good! My legs got lazy since 8 days and feels now better J
The first small town along the road was Klin. The house of Tchaikovsky is in this town which was turned into a museum. The cottages and main residences of distinguished people are all turned into a museum in this country. If you take a guide while visiting such house museums you might get bored. The belongings of an apartment/house with 3 bed rooms and a living room are approximately the same: A couch, cooker and pot, bed, desk, etc. etc. The guide starts to explain. It never ends, you enter the museum in the morning and come out in the evening. He almost tells the intervals of shitting of him/her. He explains every single thing insomuch detail. Therefore, I am sure the information you gathered from the internet before visiting such museums would be far enough. It does not come interesting to me by whom the comb was given as a gift, at which century by which carpenter the bedstead was made, where the bathroom ceramics came from. At least I don’t find such things interesting.
I also won’t pass without mentioning the matter McDonalds. These restaurants are to be found in every streets of Moscow, in every town and even in the villages. Just like a joke! They are opened everywhere since Russians haven’t a special cuisine and that there is no other alternative for fast food. Every single restaurant is crowded and you won’t be able to find a bike and throw my belongings inside the tent. I stayed in the restaurant till sleeping time. I was not in the position to see my bike or tent J. Well, that’s true. The villages and small towns of Russia are really safe. I won’t leave my bike a second from my eyes in big cities but I could look the people and understand that this village, town will not cause harm. The living standards are high outside cities in Russia. I have never met poor people in the towns, even when I had time to take long tours in some towns. The folk and the towns are beautiful. It was amazing.
After four days on the road I gave a shower break in a town named Torzhok. Well, I need to get washed. J I checked in a hotel. The receptionist talked to me in English. I got surprised. She arranged the room. At the entrance of the hotel there was a small museum. While constructing the building some historical artifacts were encountered. The ones not so valuable are exhibited in a section of the hotel which was turned into a museum. Very nice. But the explanations were only in Russian.
-Why aren’t there any English explanations?
The answer to this question was really surprising.
-You are the second Turk visiting this town. Reyhan Kasapoğlu, the woman who was on a business trip visited our town one month ago and asked the same question. Therefore I prepared the English version. Being aware that you would ask the same question, I already got a print. Here, there is.
My mouth went o shaped. I found out where Reyhan is working but was not able to reach her. That was a really strange coincidence. I couldn’t go around the town while it got dark and left the town early in the morning. Of course the streets of the towns are not as clean as the main roads. You pedal on top of snow and ice. Just as I thought that I got a good distance, a car stopped in front of me. The man getting off the car talked to me in Russian. I said that I know English but he mentioned that he didn’t. So we continued, he speaking in Russian, me speking in English. He was inviting me to the school just ahead. Okk, let’s go there.
We went to a quite big school. I took my bike to the first floor and left there. I took only my small front bag. I trust in these people. Climbing the stairs for two floors we reached the sports hall. Don’t do it to me. This is it, really is…
Attention to the wall on the rear. This is a climbing wall. And this is a primary school in a small town!!! Not in a city, in a small town!!
I’m attending the gym lesson. But what a lesson. In my previous journey I witnessed how pupils were trained for Olympic Games at the primary schools in South Korea. They paid attention especially to the individual sports. Everybody in the hall had gotten surprised when they saw me. While the teacher was telling them about me, I corrected the missing information. I wasn’t appearing in the Russian news papers yet, but was mentioned in almost all news papers in Ukraine. I found one of them in my smart phone and showed him. He read the article to the whole class. At the end there was a big applause. I also attended their oral examination. There were ropes stretched all over the hall. In every corner were lying mountaineering equipment and in front of me the climbing wall. There were rope ladders to walk on. The students were taking mountaineering and climbing lessons at their sports hour. Not only theoretical but also applied.
Hey man! We are in a small town and in this town mountaineering lessons are given. The children are climbing using ropes and climbing-equipment. They change the carabiners up there and meanwhile hang in the ropes upside down. After changing the carabiners they pass to another rope moving from one end to the other end of the hall. And the teachers are grading them. He asks me whether I was satisfied with it. I only keep saying bravo.
I am giving the prizes to the first and second ranks. They were giving thermos bottles, head lambs and ropes to the first three degrees as gift. I saw that the students were ice skating in the backyard of the school in another town. The self confidence and bravery gained by performing individual sports does not only affect the life of the individual but also he/she would be a beneficial person to the surroundings and to the country.
I won’t mention the matter of sports hour in my country. We all know it well!!!
Anyway, there is so much to tell. Let’s come to other topics…
I searched whether there was anyone pedaling from Moscow to St. Petersburg during winter. Not anyone or not known. There was no one such maniac. There were Russians saying “No way that we could understand how you could ever pedal through these roads.” “Why did you pedal in winter?” “You should have come in summer to Peter (they are calling St. Petersburg as Peter)”. I kept telling them: “Just the route”. “I love to pedal in winter.” I pedaled a distance of 713 km in 11 days, on the average 64 km per day. Of course, some days I did pedal only 40 km and in others 82 km.
The temperature of weather had never risen above minus 18 centigrade. Four days before arriving St. Petersburg, the temperature went down to minus 28, 34 and then 38 centigrade. Me sleeping at minus 35 centigrade in tent at Gobi desert of Mongolia during my North Asia bicycle tour had beaten my own record sleeping at minus 38 centigrade. The inside of my tent got completely iced. Whatever I did, I was not able to prevent this due to moisture accumulation. When you try to collect the tent as such, it gets verse the other day. Me and every equipment on the bicycle feel the temperature of minus 35centigrade as minus 50 when pedaling at speed of 20 km per hour. Since I try to push up my limits, I pedaled at a speed of 30 km per hours as soon as I saw minus 38 centigrade. The temperature you feel sinks down to minus 57 centigrade. I would like to share my experiences.
A simple Wind Chill Table showing the effect of cooling of cold weather on the skin. The temperatures my skin was exposed depending on my speed on bicycle and the air temperature. I was traveling mostly between minus 49 and minus 56 centigrade. Purple color means don’t push your limits beyond this zone, otherwise you will freeze. Not a joke, you really get frozen!
Small crystals began to nucleate on the fabric of the North Face Hyvent jacket. A visible perspiration started to pass through the jacket which was proven that the fabric was breathable. J
The balaclava on my face turned into an icy mask after a while preventing me from turning my neck neither to the left nor to the right. Below minus 30 centigrade the balaclava you are wearing gets covered with ice independent of your speed. The warm moist air from your mouth and nose immediately turns into ice and ice droops form. Almost at 10 minutes intervals I broke one of them. Since the perspiration is enclosed within the second layer of the jacket an icy layer occurred after 10 minutes. But this did not wet or moisten the fleece jacket beneath.
I could tell that the thermal underwear and on top the Gore-tex trousers were burning if I wouldn’t look at them. I felt my legs burning due to cold. I looked at the Sigma bike computer to see at what speed I am. It was iced and shut down. Also the screen of the GPS system was iced, I cleaned and touched it. It was still working. After 5 km I stopped at the first café and stepped in immediately. I took off all my cloths and hang on the chairs standing around me for drying. The batteries of my mobile, camera and tracking equipment were null due to cold. As I mentioned before, an icy layer was formed inside my jacket but the interval layer prevented the other clothing beneath from getting wet. I fixed my speed to 20 km per hour throughout the day and pedaled 81 km. Then I camped at minus 38 centigrade. The North Face tent I packed up the day before as an icy mass was turned into an icy mold. I had difficulties in opening and installing the tent. I shot a video showing how my sleeping bag was completely ice covered due to moisture.
More and more questions started to come from foreign cyclists. “Why did you choose to pedal during winter?” Because that I am a tour cyclist. I need to stop and take a shot, need to travel. You must believe, I did these all. I admit that it was really challenging. I had to share more but I couldn’t or rather it was not always possible under such a cold. But I think I put my best foot forward and shared regularly my reports and photos. Now, I must admit that questions like, “Why are you travelling in winter, what is your purpose?” comes really absurd to me. Even a close friend of mine thinks that I am exaggerating. Well, asking such questions to me is like asking Tunc Findik why he is climbing to 8000 m. Man you are exaggerating; how come you climb to 8000 m?
Or asking to Alper Dalkilic “Are you maniac, why are you running ultra-marathon in the deserts? You are exaggerating.” Asking to Erden Eruc “What did you do? You exaggerated. You crossed the ocean with man power? Why did you do this?” Yes, I am a tour cyclist. I like to enjoy myself. I like to meet people and have conversations with them. I travel. I share my videos, photos in my web site and I publish them.
Nevertheless, I create my own challenging voyage and try to be a tour cyclist of the most challenging conditions taking pioneering people as an example. I enjoy traveling this way.
At the end, I arrived to Saint Petersburg. J Again at a Saturday evening. Well, what did I do here? Our general consul Mr. Tanju, Enes and Nilufer informed the press that there is a man from Turkey traveling around the world. I pedaled the road the Russians won’t during winter. In fact I know the Russians well, they pedal at minus 60 centigrade. They were the reason why I decided to pedal in this region in winter. They did it and why not me. I was called crazy Dervish J No problem. I would also go to the places they pedaled at minus 60 centigrade. I would go to the most challenging regions I imagine be able with bicycle. I hope that not a maniac astronaut would bike in space during this time course J
They should do it now during my strongest period and not force me when my power is off.
Renaissance Corporate Group sponsored me paying my accommodation at a 5 stars hotel, the Crown Plaza, for eight days. Initially sleeping at minus 38 centigrade in a tent, then letting your ass lay on the comfortable bed of a 5 stars hotel and finally boarding the tent again. That is bloody.
I would like to thank to my friend Enes for giving me this opportunity J Meanwhile, Aydın, my friend for 30 years, lives in this city. I didn’t write wrong mistakenly. We went to kindergarden together, then the same high school. Before giving start to my World tour we were together in Turkey. Now, we are here.
I could say that the city Saint Petersburg is a real open-air museum. Even, I can say that it deserves rank one among the big cities I traveled during the World Tour adventure. It is the cultural capital of Russia. The whole city is like a historical artifact. I compared the city to Bergama due to this property. Every single point has a history. I could only visit the Hermitage Museum during my rest in this city.
Man, what a museum this is. I walked to the museum. Yes, not a fan of walking, I walked to the museum. Because, even it is minus 12 centigrade in Saint Petersburg, it is a must to walk. Walking among the amazing city architecture I came in front of the Hermitage Museum originally built as the winter residence of Tsarina Catherine the Great. An impressive building that only a woman would let to built. I am just standing in front of it fascinated. One day ago, I pedaled in the garden for hours in glory. YES, I AM GOING TOWARDS THE MOST NORTHERN PART OF EUROPE WITH MY BICYCLE!!! ON TOP OF IT, IN WINTER TIME. WELL THEN JUST CONTINUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Well, I came to visit the museum. But as far as I read from internet, it is not so easy because, you are entering the fifth biggest museum the one with largest painting collection of the world. You are entering a museum with approximately four million artifacts. You are entering a building complex with six buildings as Winter Palace, Old Hermitage, Hermitage Theater, New Hermitage, Reserve House and Small Hermitage. You need enter to this building with button up and bending with a big salute. During the era of Tsarina Catherine the Great Ottoman Empire lost all the battles with Russia. Three Ottoman Sultans changed during her era. Tsarina ordered her generals to conquest Crimea at cost of their life and that was it. During the era of Selim III Crimea was lost with the treaty of Yash. Ottoman Empire lost Crimea a Muslim territory for the first time, to an empire ruled by a tsarina. (This is the power of woman, that’s it).
There! You are in front of the winter residence of such a powerful woman. You need to enter inside with button up hahahha. The tsarina collected 250 paintings from all over Europe and let them exhibited after letting the Hermitage Museum built in 1764. She was a landmark for art and culture. She never married but let estates built for her lovers all over the country with servants. I bet if she could live for more than 100 years, the borders of present Europe would not be the same. She was a beloved tsarina by her folk. The tsars after Catherine continued the tradition and enabled to develop the biggest painting museum in the world. Yes, this is the Hermitage…
The entrance fee is approximately 30 TL. Our “museum card” practice comes into my mind. I just look at the announcements on the wall. I don’t recognize such an application yet. This application in Turkey is a good work. Younger, sisters, brothers, dear pupils following me visit the museums in your towns, learn and help for development of them. Just take advantage of this application and support the development of our museums. The historical artifacts belonging to the previous centuries, the knowledge accumulation are presented in these museums. Hundreds of young archeologists, scientists, as well foundations and institutions are working for months excavating the historical artifacts. Support these people revealing the history of this country. I have a museum card still valid for seven months. I got it validated on yearly basis since four years. When I’m back I’ll get a new one. You all certainly should get one! Just mail a photo of your museum card to the address email@example.com. Go to these museums and learn about our history. Who knows, you might run into a surprise of “Gelecek için pedalla/Pedal for future” project!
The best visiting period of this museum is winter, because there happen never ending queues in summer J The Russians in St. Petersburg kept saying “What a pity that you didn’t come for white nights.” I like darkness and also loved the dark nights of this city. It is much amazing to travel during off season. Everywhere belongs to you just hang around as how you wish, comfortable and relaxed. J There were many students in the museum since the entrance is free for students and children. When I was visiting open-air museums in Turkey, I used to merge into a large group without being noticed listening what the guide was telling. But here, there is no way to this, because everyone is talking in Russian. I just followed the groups not to get lost, such huge is this museum. Anyway, after a while I got lost. I entered the museum at 10:30 and it was already 16:45 when I left it. Just once I gave a break inside the museum to have a lunch. I was astonished while I was visiting the various sections.
Man !!, Russians brought Egypt here. I would ask how you could get these mummies, these antiquities but I know from the case Bergama. The Zeus Temple was brought to Germany. Greeks are also here. The statues in Turkey have missing heads, hands while the ones in this museum are the most intact samples, you won’t believe.
In a short word, this is not a museum to be completely visited for a day, a week or a month. If you really want to visit the museum you must stay a year in Saint Petersburg visiting the museum at definite intervals. Meanwhile, shooting photo is free in some sections and forbidden in the others. I was warned six times. Is is difficult to make shots or record video due to security in every room. Well since it is not seen possible, I took my Gopro camera out and continued to record (But do not do it! J. It did pedaling all that way to here). I shot hundreds of photos and recorded videos either forbidden or not. By the way, there are over 300 museums in St. Petersburg. Which of the museums would prefer to visit? …. The homes of Pushkin, Gorki, Dostoevsky, Tchaikovsky found are here. The homes of the Russian artists, writers were turned into museums.
The word “babushka (elderly woman in Russian)” reminded me something. Well, while I was on the road towards Peter, I accommodated three times in a hotel. One of them was in the town named Valey. I was late, it got dark and I had to lit my front headlight. I pedaled through the town looking for a hotel. Anyway, my GPS found readily the place of the hotel. It was an old Soviet building. I entered the hotel. The woman at the reception was as old as the building, I guess. As she saw me entering the building with my bicycle she frowned, one of her eyebrows being little upside. She was looking at me above her eyeglasses. Hahaha. I hoped not to face any problems, because I was about to pee. I was telling that I wanted to overnight in English supporting with hand movements. She said “passport” and I gave it her. She was looking to the visas in my passport initially form a distance then close to her eyes. She was not able to understand. Then she changed her eyeglasses and saw: The Bulgarian, Romanian, Moldovan, Schengen visas… She asked me where the Russian visa is. “Niet” Russian visa. She returned my passport, without a visa I could not stay overnight. Babushka we Turks do not need a visa. There is an entrance stamp on one of the pages. I show this one to her. She was insisting on visa.
– Babushka let me in, I’m about to pee. We don’t need a visa. Look it got dark outside, how can I camp at minus 28 centigrade? I am within the town, I can’t find a camping place here (I was telling these all in Turkish).
The woman ask if she understood what I said took my passport and copied every single page and returned it to me. Then, she took me to the room. hahaha. Partly in English, partly in Turkish and partly in body language we could communicate at the end. J Meanwhile, aside big cities the hotels prices change between 1200-15000 rubles along the road. If you are lucky, you can find a place to stay for 600 rubles in truck parking areas.
During my stay in Peter I held presentations to 60 adventure lovers about who I am and what I’m doing at Alpindustry a sports store and also at the Russian-Turkish Cultural Center. J
Writing the travel reports especially in this cold season makes me really hard. But I do what I can J. I could not support my reports with videos in this tour yet but after a certain date I’ll start to publish the videos also.
By the way, the Baltic Sea is frozen. The ferries have been canceled. Meanwhile, I received a nice map through our general consul Mr. Tanju. I noticed that you can start with a riverboat from Black Sea reaching Saint Petersburg.
Anyway, the next country is just there, a little confusing, but I let you know soon.