• 2 November 2013

Russia is on vacation, Gurkan

Russia is on vacation, Gurkan

Russia is on vacation, Gurkan 300 169 Gürkan Genç



Wow, how wonderful I slept. I am going to Russia on sleeper train. I am sure we are approaching the station, everyone gets prepared. As they had seen me awakening, they gave me some food. The woman attendant brought some tea right away. I am the only one whom tea is served on the train. The Ukrainian really astonished me a lot. It must be around 9:30 am, but it is still dark outside. Let’s see what time it is. Wow, really 9:25 am. Outside is dark like in the night. I wonder when it gets dark. This means that I will pedal much less during day time. Wuhuu, I am about to drop in a new adventure. Good to go.



The train arrives. It is best to get off the train as the last. Just as everyone has got off the train, 10-15 men board the train from both front and back doors right away. They start to collect the blue boxes placed under the beds in each compartment. There were such boxes also under my bed. I guess these were placed before the passengers boarded the train. Russian border officers didn’t check them. I have no idea about the content of the boxes, but they arrived their target without facing any obstructions, for sure. Finally, at the end, I take down my bicycle and leave the train station. Wuhuuu, it is crowded. Really very very crowded. It is 28th December, this counts also to that. I suppose everybody goes on vacation. Everywhere is filled up with people with suitcases. And as I saw the river near the station, I said “Woww it is really pretty cold” J


First of all, I need to see the Red Square. Open the GPS. Let’s take me there to Red Square. By the way, dullness is hanging over the city what I am not able to define. I am getting to feel depressed… I look into the faces of the people and have such an odd feeling. As if nobody, hanging around, is happy. I cannot name this. It could also just be the tiredness due to the long train travel.



Everywhere is iced and snow covered in Moscow. There is traffic jam. I slalom among the cars. Wow, what an impressive building this is. Finally, I happen to arrive the walls of Kremlin Palace using the side streets. Wow I had seen the palace only in the movies or news before. How can I get in? The road surrounding Kremlin Palace has 11 lanes just in one direction. Dude, what a road this is. 11 lanes downtown, heavy traffic on each lane. Haha. And how the cars are speeding. Let’s go on sidewalk before a car hits me. Yes, Moscow looks like Istanbul in terms of traffic, crowded but the traffic flows here. Indeed, it flows with a quite high speed. I couldn’t manage to cross somehow the road. I take a look into the underpass. Okk.. There is a lane for baby stroller but my bike doesn’t fit into the lane. I can take my bike down the stairs but how come I take it up the stairs? Everybody looks puzzled but none of them even try to help.


Finally, I am next to the palace. One needs to pay fee for the museums section inside the palace but how can I go somehow to the Red Square. While looking around:


– Murat abi (brother) just move little aside. I also want to take the  dome of the palace into the visor.

–  Is it Okk?


Ooo, there are two Turks.


– Selam

– Ooooo selam

– How are you? Is this the way to Red Square?

– Yes. That is the way. What is this abi (brother)? Where do you come from?

– From Ankara

– By plane?

– No, by bike.


Their eyes say: “Are you f… us?”. Every time, I need to grin J

– Are you are kidding us abi (brother)?

– No. I am really traveling by bike.

– Mmmm. It took around 4 months.

– Baba (father) what the fucking hell did you do? And to where now?

– Just hanging around, will go ahead


Now, if I would have said a world journey … No need to say. Just a photo than we go into different directions. Going here and there, hop I am in the middle of Red Square. That’s it.


While pedaling on Red Square and Moscow streets, the most that got my attention was the amount of slant-eyed people. Many of them are Kyrgyz, I know, for sure. During my previous tour traveling so long in Asia, I was able to recognize slant-eyed people even to their villages. Haha. And one comes to Red Square J




Before heading to the guest house of our embassy, I ate and spent some time in a restaurant at the Red Square. I wouldn’t exaggerate if say that there is a sushi restaurant at every corner. The restaurant I entered was one of them. The employees were all Kyrgyz J. You get the feeling that you are eating sushi in Japan. By the way, I must admit that the best sushi I had ever eaten outside Japan was definitely in Moscow. Over time I learn that this country does not have a special cuisine. What a pity, such a huge country without an alternative.


The guest house of the Turkish Embassy is in form of a building complex. The embassy employees live also there. Ersegül hanım to whom I had taken contact is, unfortunately, outside the country during my visit. I also saw the buildings where our embassy employees stayed in Turkmenistan and Chin. Whenever possible, a building for the embassy employees was built. But, you can also rent an apartment in Moscow and live there J Even though I think everybody would like to, they wouldn’t since Moscow is a very expensive city. Apartments with 1+1 rooms start from 2000$. Unbelievable. The prices are incredibly high. Why? Since it is very difficult to find a place for living in Moscow. This is the price for an apartment somewhere outside the city. If you want one in downtown the price gets even higher. How come that people can rent an apartment with such high prices. Let’s think of an apartment with 4 rooms living a family in each, the bathroom shared.  In some are 10 rooms on every flat with one shower and toilet. I’ll come back to the issue of housing later.


The guest house is just across my room I was given. I meet our new press attache Orhan and we come into conversation. The first thing he says:”Gurkan you came just for a wrong time. On 28th December everything stands still. Until 8th January, it is vacation. You won’t be able to give press releases nor will have presentations”. No matter. Then we celebrate New Year together. I will hang around in Moscow. Hey man, I’ll find something to do. With Orkun, one of my old friends, the time is going to pass well in Moscow, anyhow.



It is time to take a rest…

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