With a little help from our friends

Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
Trip End Feb 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Linguistic University

Flag of Russia  , Privolzhsky,
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Once we left Vladimir we took a 3 hour train to Nizhniy Novgorod which is one of the biggest cities in Russia. As we got out of the station we were faced with chaos. Lots of people, lots of traffic and the ever present MacDonald's sign in the distance. We managed to locate a bus stop close by and were trying to figure out which bus to take when all of a sudden Paul was approached by a Russian girl who asked if she could help us. 

Both of us were ecstatic to find an English speaking a local as so far our Russian hasn't really taken off. She told us we were on the wrong bus stop, going to the opposite direction and sent us off to the right one. Before we left she asked Paul where he was from and when he uttered those magic words 'England' the girl's face lit up and she said 'Oh my god!!!!'. An English person clearly deserves extra help as at that point she offered to walk us to the right bus stop and help us get the right bus. I thought if England had that effect, Malta surely is going to be even more exotic!! But alas, when I told her I was from Malta she was clearly less impressed. Ah well, as long as I was getting on the right bus....

We continued to experience the locals' kindness on the bus. We were trying to figure out where to stop and we soon had no less than 4 locals involved in the matter. 1 was reading the map, 1 was trying to translate, 1 was telling the bus driver where to stop us and 1 was telling us his cousin went to London. It was absolutely amazing to have so many people genuinely interested in helping us. Very touching. When we got off the bus, we obviously headed off in the opposite direction but soon stopped a few people to ask for directions. It turns out they were also staying at the University and told us to walk with them. We were sooo lucky to bump into them when we did as the University was well hidden and had no signs to indicate what it was. When we got to our room we just couldn't believe the amount of incidents that had helped us get there. 

We quickly left to explore the city and headed to the river front. We came across the most wonderful view of the sun setting over the river and immediately decided that we loved this place. We found a stall/ open air cafe on the river and despite it being Tuesday night the place was alive with the sound of muuuuusic. We joined the locals, ordered a few nibbles (including the obligatory dried fish) and boogied along to some great Russian pop music. Brilliant night!

On the next day we explored the city which is set on top of a huge hill. We braved the steep hill down to the bottom in search of a restaurant that was recommended by the Lonely Planet. The place was well worth the trek. It's designed like a merchant's house and looks very grand. We had smoked herring and rabbit stew and finished the meal off with the local kvas - a drink made with fermented bread which tastes soooo much better than it sounds. Everything was absolutely divine. 

We then walked up to the University to pick up our backpacks and head off to our next destination - Yekaterinburg, which is a day away by train!

More on our journey coming soon!

Karen & Paul

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John Sherry on

Enjoying your travel experience very much. Keep a note of all the relevant costs , yes Paul including booze costs, and you got yourself a bagpackers guide to travel in russia ! Lots of Love J. & N. x x x x

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