At the tenth day, our excursion to the Russian Altay ended. The tenth day, there’s one missing, isn’t it? Yeah, you’re right, but the last two days weren’t that relevant, as we were driving with the cars most of the time, it rained outside and besides of endless forests, there weren’t many spectacular things to see. We only visited a sawmill, where we could ask the owner some questions about the wood industry in the Altay.
The highlight of the ninth day was definitely the cooking in the evening. We did the cooking this time, as a kind of present for the guides. We therefore cooked some Cilli con Carne and as a desert, we did a real Kaiserschmarren for the drivers. Cultural exchange, or something like that. It definitely tasted well to them, which of course made us happy. Also, vodka was consumed in rough quantities, as we didn’t have to do anything the next day besides of driving back to Barnaul. So the next day the convoy started to hit the road again, but strangely our car was the one leading the convoy this time, what we never did this excursion. Why do I tell you this? Well, the reason made me smile a bit, because Waldemar told us, that he was the only person yesterday, that didn’t drink alcohol and therefore didn’t smell like a pub full of drunk people. This would definitely be better for a possible police control, as usually only the first car of the convoy gets stopped. „Russia“, I thought to myself and used the time in the car to take a nap and write my first Blog-Post, which now lays back over one month already. Around Noon we had a stop in Bijsk, a small Russian town between the Altay and Barnaul. Several beautiful, ancient buildings could be seen, but apart from those it was the typical image of a Russian town: flat constructions all over the place.
One last time the convoy hit the road again and made the last kilometers towards Barnaul. We checked in at the hotel in the city center and now had to say goodbye to the guides. Even if the time we spent together wasn’t even two weeks we got to know each other well and matched perfectly. The contact to those humans is really worth a lot to me because the region of the Altay, Mongolia or even the Region around the Lake Baikal are all destinations they bring tourists to. Sounds interesting? Yeah, to me too! Maybe I will meet one of them again. For the student group there was one last point on our schedule. In the evening we went to a restaurant together to finish the journey together. There I once more realized how cheap the living costs are there. For about 10€ I got one liter of beer, a mushroom soup as a starter, cow tongue filets as a main dish and some fried potatoes as a side dish. And it was delicious. Not like eating stew all the time anymore, but even that would’ve been ok if I could’ve stayed a bit longer in the Altay mountains. But this was over now. The next day, when we woke up, most of the group was already sitting in the plane towards somewhere else. My upcoming travel plan was to take the train to Moscow to visit the city there. The train would go in the early evening, why the people who were still here could explore the city together. My judgment about the city from the first day had to be revised partly. There were quite some nice places in this town, and with the sun shining on that day everything seemed more friendly than in the fog of the morning. We walked down the complete Lenin-Road, the grand boulevard that couldn’t miss in any Russian socialistic town.
In the end, we could visit the harbor at the Ob River and made our way on a small hill with an amazing view over the city. After that, we went back to the center and ate something in the same restaurant like the day before.
Also Christina, the german student from Barnaul, who was doing the excursion with us as well, was joining us there. Then the point came where we had to pack our things and leave Barnaul. Gladly Christina offered us to bring us to the train station by car, which saved us about 20 minutes of walking with our heavy bags. And there was one more advantage. Normally only Sophia and I would have been on the same train to Moscow, but Steff had the same plan, but she booked another train. But now we had Christina who managed to change the ticket for Steff, so we could make the 56 hours to Moscow together. After saying goodbye the train started to move. It will be the home of us for the next 56 hours, only one three-hour change in Novosibirsk was on the schedule. One last time we passed the Ob River when the sun already went down and drove into the night.