Searching for Varikino – part two

Kurgan, 18.06.2019 After yesterday's afternoon events at the checkpoint my first thought was to get out of Russia fast and drive into Kazakhstan the next day. The next morning I thought about this again. I had made a mistake, it was solved. I wouldn't have a few policemen derail my plan of places to see …

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Off limits

Chelyabinsk, 16.06.2019 Leaving Yekaterinburg to the South, after an hour I left the main highway to drive towards what Wikipedia and Google maps in terrain view had promised as a more mountain-like landscape than the previous day. I had also found out during my research that nearby was a "closed city" by the name of …

Searching for Varikino – part one

Yekaterinburg, 15.06.2019 Since the first time I saw David Lean's cinema epic based on Pasternak's novel, the images of the fictitious Varikino estate in the Urals fascinated me. The Urals of the movie were filmed in Spain though. I had always wanted to find out how the real Urals looked like, the land border between …

Gulag

Perm-36, 15.06.2019 About 120km north-east of Perm, in a hilly landscape on a slope of the river Chisovaya, a few minutes off the northernmost tarred road crossing the Ural, lied Perm 36. This former Gulag lager got converted into a memorial for the victims of political repression. It's the only camp I found available to …

Surprise encounter

Perm, 14.06.2019 During a short break on the motorway, checking messages and Insta on the way to Kazan, I saw a friend from Barcelona posting a picture from home - in Izhevsk, my next stop. The town lies on the way to the Ural mountains and features a museum of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of …

Tatarstan

Kazan, 13.06.2019 Leaving Nizhni Novgorod, the weather started to worsen and it rained intermittently. The following six hours saw me driving eastbound, parallel to the Volga without ever seeing it. In general there wasn't a lot to see, the landscape was the same as the past days, and the new motorway had no thrills to …

Russia day

Nizhni Novgorod, 12.06.2019 Today I woke up late and decided to grab a coffee on my way to see the Kremlin of Nizhni Novgorod, hoping to see a bit of the old city center too. Last night I had reached the city after sundown. The Soviet suburbs were a bit rough compared to the Golden …