The Volga Boatman Eats Well


Last night’s cruise on the Volga River was such a good time that we were ready to experience way more of this largest river in Europe.  Today’s ride took us down the eastern shore and gave us a panoramic view of Samara.


Historic buildings were to be found in nearly every village.  Trains pass frequently and stop traffic.  I mean traffic has no choice than to stop.  Juergen is looking down the hole opened by the steel plate which stands up to keep crazy motorcyclists and other from trying to swerve around the downed crossing arms while waiting for trains that seem to take forever to arrive.

Juergen, Ernst, and Frajo have become a great riding team, representing men in their fifties, sixties and seventies.  Frajo’s jacket zipper broke so now he’s held together by a bright yellow bungee cord.  Ernst refers to Frajo’s outfit as a Versace.  Our motorcycle seats seem very hard after long days.  I don’t know why Juergen and Ernst took the opportunity to sit on something even harder, concrete posts!  After at least ten minutes of waiting, a train belching black smoke chugged by.


Saratov promised to be a city where life is vibrant along the Volga.  It sure delivered.  Thousands of bathers cooled from the 100+ degree heat by diving in its waters. The quaint sitting area in our hotel room had a splendid view of the shore and the bridge we had just crossed.



A cabana overlooking the river was where we chose to dine.  Catfish Saratov, fried catfish, was my choice.  It turns out that we had chosen a gourmet restaurant where my catfish was nothing like fried catfEEsh in Georgia.  It was splendid both in taste and presentation.  Baby shrimp circled the stack of delectable components.  Larry’s pork tenderloin medallions with zucchini fritters were an epicurean delight as well.



You might think that with such dishes, we would be gaining weight.  We’re not. Most days, we eat a good breakfast,  have a very light lunch or snack, then have one substantial restaurant meal either before or after our 7pm meeting. Usually we split an entree and a salad.  That saves both our wallet and waistlines.


The heat persisted so our evening stroll was limited to seeing this newer, yet ornate, church.  When we returned, Jeff had some less than good news for us – he noticed that the front wheel of my bike had some play in it.  My wheel bearings were shot.  Had we been alone, I would have ridden it to get it fixed.  With our trip being supported and choosing to play it safe, into the van went my little red Suzuki until she can be repaired.


14 Jul   Samara to Saratov Russia   261  miles

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