Today we were able to make good time, especially on the expressway section. We had to be watchful, though. In Russia, even four-lane, limited access roads can have pedestrian cross walks. If people are in those cross walks, whether traffic is rolling 25 or 65 mph, drivers must stop.
As many of you know, I’m an avid gardener. The dirt here is such a nice black color and seems to have such a smooth texture that I would love to plant in it. Not on this trip.
Oil wells dotted today’s landscape. Unlike the plain metal wells we’re used to in the USA, these were painted bright red and blue.
Our efficient riding allowed us time to enjoy the indoor pool and jacuzzi at the Holiday Inn.
Mother Nature cooperated and gave us perfect weather for our evening on the Volga River, aboard the “Princess Olga.” It’s ironic that only three days ago, 130 people died about 200 miles up stream. An overloaded, non-air conditioned river boat, caught a big wave with portholes open, sinking within three minutes. While we waited to board, a crew member appeared to be inspecting a life boat. Once on board, Jeff modeled the latest fashion in flotation devices.
Virtually the entire Volga River boat fleet is old, many over 50 years old. The Princess Olga was no exception. Still, she gave our group a comfortable, private cruise. We dined on pork chops. Juergen, Alfred, and Ernst were among those who relaxed outdoors after dinner. Vera, our English-speaking, Russian guide, did the best she could to share the river’s history with a group that had consumed ample amounts of beer, wine, and vodka.
There was plenty to see while cruising. Lovely homes, commercial buildings, beaches, and churches lined the eastern shore. A warm sunset wished us good night. This was a very good night.
13 Jul Ufa to Samara Russia 288 miles
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