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Embraers & Soviet Forced Labor Camps: HEL-SVX-HEL  
User currently offlineAYA333 From Finland, joined Aug 2008, 110 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 8747 times:

Embraers, trains and Soviet forced labor camps: HEL-SVX-HEL

Background


A friend of mine was studying in Finland for January and February 2012. She lives in Yekaterinburg, Russia and after her return home to Yekaterinburg, I decided to visit her. A suitable time for both of us was quickly found in May, from 18th until 21st. I had a long weekend break which meant I could already fly on thursday evening and return early on monday morning.

I booked a nonstop return Finnair flight on Embraer 190, one of my favourite aircraft. Return ticket cost affordable 315 euro when booked in mid-March. That was also quickly booked.

As I had already been to Yekaterinburg earlier and we both love traveling, we decided to visit a new destination for both of us. At first we thought about Chelyabinsk but later we agreed on Perm as that would allow us to visit a camp for Soviet political prisoners, Gulag. This camp was called Perm 36 and it is situated about 100 km from Perm.

After getting my visa a couple of days before my trip, it was time for me to travel! Welcome along!

Thursday 17 May 2012

Departure time for my flight was at 23:55, so only 5 minutes before midnight. That would allow me to sleep long, pack during the day, take a nap and then head for the airport. Once packing, I remembered that I had forgotten to buy some medication I need. And as thursday was a public holiday in Finland, I decided to head for a pharmacy downtown as they would always be open for business.

After buying my medication, I walked to Elielinaukio square as I decided to take it easy and travel to the airport on a Finnair City Bus instead of my usual choice, cheaper and less comfortable Helsinki Regional Traffic buses.

Waiting for a bus in downtown Helsinki (easy to notice that it's a public holiday)
http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/7343/img0948q.jpg

I was at the airport already at 21:30, so I had plenty of time to make my flight. I had already checked in online on wednesday afternoon at work. So, all I had to do was to head for the empty bag drop area.

But where to start?
http://img845.imageshack.us/img845/7466/img0953sr.jpg

FIDS
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I was practically the only person at security and was quickly through. So, it was time for shopping: some Fazer chocolate as a gift from Finland! Nothing more this time – but of course you have to see if there would be something else that is interesting.

Shopping tour, part 1:
http://img703.imageshack.us/img703/3142/img0954ez.jpg

Shopping tour, part 2:
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Then it was time to go through passport control – no queue here either. A smooth start for a trip.

Chongqing – wait for me! I will be visiting you in December!
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Maybe I should try other AY destinatons in China as well?
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My gate but not time just yet!
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Then it was time to drink some coffee and wait for my flight to depart. And in no time the boarding started.

Finnair AY151
Helsinki (HEL) – Yekaterinburg (SVX)
Embraer 190
OH-LKK
Seat 06F (window)
Scheduled time 23:55-05:55


Boarding was quick. I was within the first passengers to board and took my seat.

Legroom was ok
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It had started to rain outside – so no pictures
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Departure was on time. And I have to admit that I was so tired that I was waiting for the service to start so that I could then have some sleep. Flight time would be three hours and as Yekaterinburg is east from Helsinki, time there would be three hours more than in Helsinki. So, departure would be at midnight but arrival at 6 in the morning. So every minute of sleep would be highly appreciated.

Inflight magazine Blue Wings
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Friday 18 May 2012

Pasta salad and Coke Light (Diet Coke as Americans call it)
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Pasta was surprisingly delicious! And then it was time for a well deserved nap of more than an hour.

I woke up all too soon and it was already light outside! And we had started our descent!
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After snapping the previous photo, an older female FA came to me and told that it was prohibited to take photos. It might cause problems for our radio transmissions, she said... Well, who was I to argue with her, I put my camera away. But come on, next time come up with better explanations!

Landing was a couple of minutes early. This was my second time at Yekaterinburg airport and the previous time was in March 2011 when it was still snow outside and dark so I was glad to see the airport in daylight for once.

Once we had landed, I decided to grab my camera to shoot a couple of photos.
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I was one of the first passengers to enter passport control. So, it didn't take that long. But I guess it took about 10 minutes before bags were on a belt to be picked up. Luckily my bag was the first to appear!

Then through customs where no-one was interested in me and I could walk straight outside. I headed for a taxi that was waiting outside. As I don't speak any Russian, except for a couple of phrases and f-words, I had printed the address on a cyrillic alphabet. Taxi driver said ”da”, wrote 600 rubles on my paper. It was my turn to say ”da” and we started our about 20 km journey to the center. It was 6:20 in the morning, so the airport had been a quick experience!

I had agreed with my friend that I would take a taxi to her home and sleep there for a couple of hours when she would be at work. She also wanted me to send her a sms when I left the airport so that she could wake up. I did and she quickly replied: ”F*ck, I am going to bath now. Wait outside on the street.”

As I already told you, I had been here once before and had remembered Yekaterinburg as a bit grey but interesting city. But now everything was different because it was practically already summer here and everywhere I looked I could see something green. Astonishing how different everything looked!

The streets were empty so it didn't take long before I was at my destination in the center. As I stepped out of my taxi, my friend stepped out of the door. I was really glad to meet at her after over 2 months! She also told me that there had been a change of plan: her roommate was still sleeping and we didn't want to wake her up. So, we walked to her friend's apartment less than 1 km away. Her friend had a larger apartment so that I would have a separate room to sleep in.

When we reached her friend's apartment, she was preparing a breakfast for both of us. We had breakfast and had a lot to talk about. After the breakfast, I had a couple of hours sleep, my friend went to her work and her friend also left to take care of some matters in the city. I woke up at 2 PM, took a shower and at 3 PM my host arrived. She prepared a lunch for us and then we walked to her work in the center.

I left my host to her work. She worked close to the Square of 1905 – so in the very center of the center of the city.

Yekaterinburg City Duma on the Square of 1905 (City council in English, I presume)
http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/5547/img1010n.jpg

As I had only been offered tea today, I was desperately seeking for coffee. Maybe they serve coffee here?
http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/2410/img1022qq.jpg

Sure, decent coffee (and some apple strudel)
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They also had free wifi at Mamma's Big House. This was excellent for a person with internet addiction like me! While surfing the web, my friend sent me a sms and asked where I was. We agreed to meet in an hour next to the only skyscraper in the center. Piece of cake, I had seen it before. In fact, it was located next to Park Inn Hotel where I stayed a year ago.

Central Yekaterinburg, walking towards our meeting point
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http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/3656/img1032qx.jpg

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Local airline advertising
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Local shopping mall
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Ok, now I was almost there – the local skyscraper (with some wooden old buildings in front of it)
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I was at our meeting point 5 minutes ahead of schedule and was happy to find my friend already there. We started walking towards the railway station where we would at first buy our tickets for the night train to Perm. Then we would have a couple of hours to wait for the train to depart at 1:30 AM. But we were in need of a dinner so that sounded like an excellent plan!

Railway station is located about 1 km north of the center, walking towards the station
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I really couldn't figure out which store or restaurant this was
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Yekaterinburg railway station (along the Trans Siberian Railway)
http://img406.imageshack.us/img406/979/img1062cs.jpg

At the station we first walked a bit further away from the main entrance, and entered the building from a different entrance. According to my friend there was a separate ticket sales area which was always less crowded than the main ticket sales point.

The queues on this area were not so bad
http://img684.imageshack.us/img684/7925/img1063ox.jpg

But as we had been waiting for about 10 minutes, the lady behind the counter told us that this area would be shut for the night at 8 PM, in 5 minutes time. So, we had to move to the other area which was much more crowded.

I guess it took about an hour to buy the tickets. In Russia you need your passport to be able to buy a long distance train ticket as they will print your on the ticket to avoid scams. In this way no-one can buy all the tickets for a certain train and then sell them at a premium later.

After purchasing the tickets, we took a marshrutka (route taxi) to the center and had a dinner.

Delicious dinner
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After dinner we went for a walk in the center and sat for a long time watching the river that runs through the city
http://img38.imageshack.us/img38/3139/img1075km.jpg

Saturday 19 May 2012

After midnight, we decided to walk towards the station. The night was warm and beautiful! On the way to the station we stopped in a grocery store to buy some water.

Train number 91: Severobaikalsk-Moscow – that's our train!
http://img849.imageshack.us/img849/6765/img1094b.jpg

If you wonder why I tell you that the train will depart at 1:30 AM, but it says 11:30 PM in the TIDS, well... In Russia all trains run on Moscow time. So, the train will depart 1:30 AM (Yekaterinburg time zone) but it's officially 11:30 PM in Moscow and railway time. All clocks at the station are also in Moscow time, all around Russia!

On the platform with a lot of soldiers
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Once in the train, everything goes smoothly. We did buy 2nd class tickets, not my desired 3rd class. My friend has a Russian student card so she can travel in 2nd class for the price of 3rd class. So, I had to settle for a 2nd class cabin for 4 people.

There were also 2 other people in the compartment: a young man who was carrying a computer monitor along and an older woman. We all stepped into the train in Yekaterinburg. And we all slept like logs almost the minute the train left Yekaterinburg.

Officially the border between Europe and Asia is located about 20 km west of Yekaterinburg. So I was now on my first intercontinental train journey heading back to my beloved Europe after spending almost 24 hours in Asia 

We should arrive in Perm at 7:25 in the morning, so we had about 6 hours to spend in the train. I set my alarm at 7 but didn't actually need it as the carriage attendant woke us up at 6:55. After brushing my teeth, I was ready for a new day.

Good morning, Perm! Good morning, Europe!
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Yes, this was a train from Severobaikalsk to Moscow.
http://img838.imageshack.us/img838/8218/img1104kn.jpg

I really did long for a shower. Many Russian railway stations have some rooms they rent out in the upper floors. So, we decided to ask if they have some in Perm as well and whether it would be possible to take a shower there. And yes, I am welcome to use the shower for 110 rubles + 35 rubles for a towel (size: supermini). But no more than 30 minutes for this price.

My friend decides to sleep for 30 minutes and I take a shower. Well, the water pressure is not the best but a shower is always a shower. So, soon I feel myself refreshed!

Perm 2 railway station (that is actually the name of this station – wonder if they have Perm 1 somewhere?)
http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/6610/img1105g.jpg

Almost clean here
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Interesting art – wood! Nobody burned it down yet!
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Perm used to be 250 years old in the 1970s (this thing definitely is very Soviet)
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After walking maybe 10 minutes towards the center of Perm, we discover our breakfast. Pancakes (stuffed with tomatoes and cheese) and coffee for breakfast – this is Russia after all!
http://img802.imageshack.us/img802/5717/img1114s.jpg

My friend had checked earlier where the bus station was and we started walking towards it with full stomachs. I would estimate that the walk was bit more than 1 km.

Perm city view (yes, they also had nicer buildings)
http://img855.imageshack.us/img855/3617/img1118d.jpg

This house is for sale – a dream for a do-it-yourself man!
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Perm had plenty of buses imported from Germany (with German ads still attached)
http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/504/img1124kl.jpg

The bus station was located next to a market. According to my friend most of the people working on this market did not speak Russian but some Central Asian languages.

Market
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Bus station
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At the bus station we at first bought our tickets towards the city of Chusovoy and then some water as this was also a hot day. Temperature was over + 25 C and the sun was shining on a clear blue sky! We still had almost an hour to wait as our bus was departing at 11:05 AM. We spent this time bu sitting on a bench looking at people and buses.

Finally our bus arrived and we took our assigned seats. My friend asked the driver to drop us of at the road junction close to the village of Kuchino about 2 hours away from Perm.

Inside the bus
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Legroom was acceptable
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Crossing Kama river, a part of even larger river Volga (and a funny name for all Finns – but not as funny as Pano restaurant that Flying Finn found)
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The scenery was almost like in Finland
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As we had already been traveling for almost 2 hours, we started looking for all possible signs of Kuchino village. Suddenly I noticed the sign and my friend asked the driver to stop at the junction. He would have just driven past it if we had not asked again although he promised to leave us there when we entered the bus.

We stepped out of the bus in the middle of nowhere – and there goes the bus
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Hmmm, Perm 95 km. Maybe this wasn't such a great idea after all?
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According to guide books we should now walk 2.5 km to the village of Kuchino where the Gulag camp for political prisoners was situated. We were not exactly sure which direction to go, but decided to walk to the most obvious direction with the best road.

The road had nice surface for the first 300 metres – and then gravel
http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/2623/img1143c.jpg

During our walk we saw less than 10 cars. But as it was hot and dry, we were covered in dust as all passing cars left behind a cloud of dust.

After walking for 2 km, we entered the village. My friend asked one of the villagers if we were walking to the right direction. We were told to keep going as we were almost there.

My first sight of the Gulag
http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/2994/img1152n.jpg

Welcome to Perm 36 camp
http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/6093/img1204pv.jpg

According to Wikipedia ”Gulag was a government agency that administered the Soviet forced labor camps. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of extrajudicial punishment. The Gulag is recognized as a major instrument of political repression in the Soviet Union.”

Perm 36 is the only camp that has been turned into a museum! It was closed as a labor camp in 1987. Entry fee for the museum for 2 persons was 100 rubles.

Inside the camp
http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/3248/img1162mc.jpg

Four different fences kept everyone inside – and guards had instructions to shoot first and ask the questions afterwards
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http://img259.imageshack.us/img259/7986/img1195sl.jpg

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On this forced labor camp people were forced to do logging work
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Comfortable beds
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No single rooms available
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An exhibition was also available, unfortunately only in Russian
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Camps were spread out all over the former Soviet Union
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http://img3.imageshack.us/img3/7507/img1182ba.jpg

http://img801.imageshack.us/img801/7926/img1183ei.jpg

Isolation section for the most dangerous, anti-Soviet people
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http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/6761/img1188e.jpg

Shower
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I wonder if visitors were really allowed?
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http://img31.imageshack.us/img31/3866/img1199oq.jpg

After spending about an hour at the camp, we stepped outside the fence – feeling hungry.

[Edited 2012-05-27 10:46:17]


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17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAYA333 From Finland, joined Aug 2008, 110 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 8653 times:

There turned out to be a grocery store in the village. We bought some fruit, cookies and water and walked to the banks of local river to enjoy the sun and have a picnic.

Grocery store with only one brand of water but a lot of beer brands (and all customers seemed to be drunk in the middle of the day)
http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/7457/img1205m.jpg

River – a perfect spot for a picnic
http://img818.imageshack.us/img818/4491/img1206rd.jpg

After spending almost an hour enjoying the sun, it was time to head back to the main road. We decided to hitchhike, if there would be any cars.

Kuchino village
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Bye, Kuchino – most probably we will never meet again
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After leaving the village, we spotted one car and tried to hitchhike. It drove past without stopping. And a second car. That driver showed us with his hands that his car was full, no room for us.

So, we continued walking and finally reached the main road. We had no idea if there would be any buses going. Our strategy was to hitchhike.

We had only just reached the main road when a marshrutka (route taxi) stopped even without us waving or showing any other signs. The driver asked if we were going to Perm and offered us a ride, total price 500 rubles for two of us. We stepped in to a now full marshrutka.

The trip was quick as our driver was driving like a maniac. We reached Perm in 1.5 hours, 30 minutes quicker than on a bus earlier today. Once in Perm, we suddenly saw an amusement park from a window and asked the driver to let us out.

We went into the amusement park, called Gorky Park (like in many other Russian towns, I was told). At first we walked around and then had a dinner in one of the park restaurants.

Amusement Park
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After having dinner, we decided to walk towards Kama river.

One local university had decided to earn some money by selling ad space
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I am not sure what Lenin would think about McDonald's being situated at Ulitsa Lenina
http://img442.imageshack.us/img442/355/img1223qo.jpg

Local art
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Local art, part 2
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There was a night of museums in Perm (and in several other Russian towns) – here someone is reading poetry
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Magnificent Kama river runs through Perm
http://img809.imageshack.us/img809/9527/img1238px.jpg

Beautiful sunset by Kama river
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Beautiful sunset by Kama river
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We had tickets to a train that would leave for Yekaterinburg at 11 PM but after walking a great deal today, we decided to take a tram to the station Perm 2.

Much to our surprise, we found the right tram stop immediately and the tram came also very quickly. So, we were at the station almost one hour before scheduled time of departure of the train.

Tram stop by the station
http://img692.imageshack.us/img692/4518/img1251vo.jpg

Perm 2 station in the evening light at 10 PM (remember, clocks at stations run in Moscow time)
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TIDS – our train is the fifth one from the top and this time only going from Perm to Yekaterinburg
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Again I see a reminder of Vladivostok. There will be a train arriving from Vladivostok 10 minutes after our departure. Well, one day I will go there by train (and return by Russian domestic flights).

The train arrived to the platform about 15 minutes before the departure time and we stepped into our compartment.

Inside the train
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2nd class compartment
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Again I slept immediately after the train had departed. This time there were only three people in the compartment, an old man was the third person.

Sunday 20 May 2012

I woke up when the carriage attendant woke all passengers up 30 minutes before our arrival at 6 AM. We collected all our stuff and stepped out of the train.

I have been less tired sometimes. And this clock running in Moscow time doesn't help
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We walked to a bus stop and took a trolley bus to the center. We went to my friend's place where her room mate was still sleeping (as would any sensible person). My friend decided to take a shower only to find out that because of construction work no hot water was available.

Suddenly I realised that the hotel I had booked for my last night was only a block away from her home. My friend called them and found out that I could already check in. So, my friend went to her bed and I walked to my hotel.

Trans Hotel Yekaterinburg
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My room
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I took a quick shower and slept until 10:15 AM. Then I had a breakfast at the hotel restaurant. At the reception I was offered the possibility to have breakfast already this morning as they were aware that I would depart early the next morning.

After the breakfast I took a walk to a nearby supermarket to buy some souvenirs to take to my office in Finland and buy some water.

A really nice gesture – a ”graveyard” for old buildings of the city
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I returned to the hotel and read a book and surfed the web. At 2 PM my friend came to pick me up and we walked to pick the key to her friend's apartment where I had left some of my stuff a couple of days earlier. On the way there we had some lunch, picked up my stuff and took a marshrutka to my hotel.

My friend and I agreed that we would meet at 10 PM for some tea. Then she went to her home to write an essay that she would have to return the next day for her studies. I took a nap and read my book.

At 10 PM we met and went to nearby Central Asian influenced place for tea. We chatted for 2 hours and had some really nice tea – maybe the best I've ever had. Then it was time to say goodbye to her and go to sleep! She would still study for an exam for a couple of hours before sleeping – poor her!

Tea
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I went to bed at midnight and set the alarm for 3 AM. This should be fun Monday 21 May 2012

Waking up at 3 AM, well, is not fun. I decided to take a shower and this time there was only cold water so I had to force myself to take a shower – but a bit quicker than I had intented. I collected my stuff and at 3.45 AM I was at the reception returning my key and paying my minibar bill (that Coke was far too inviting).

I had preordered a taxi for 4 AM the previous night and I was told that ”number 549 is waiting for you already”. I thanked the reception staff and walked outside.

The first thing I heard was the sound of car horns. I am not a ice hockey fan but I knew that Russia was playing against Slovakia in the final the previous night. Russia must have won, I thought!

But where was my taxi? There was one car outside, an old Mitsubishi that had some big blows on it's surface. And a guy smoking outside the car.

I stood there for a couple of minutes. It wasn't 4 AM yet so I figured that my taxi was still on the way. Until I suddenly realised that the licence plate of the Mitsubishi had numbers 549... Oh, this must be my ”taxi”.

I walked to the car and stepped in. The driver didn't speak any english but luckily airport is almost an universal word. It's a shame that I don't speak any Russian as this guy was clearly very talkative and nice company. And he drove like a maniac on the empty streets.

On the way to the airport I noticed several cars with Russian flags hanging out from the windows on the streets. Now it was more than clear that Russians were ice hockey world champions!

At 4:25 AM we reached the airport. I paid an amazingly low 450 rubles for my journey (lowest ever in Yekaterinburg for me).

Good morning, Yekaterinburg Koltsovo airport
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Entering an airport in Russia is an interesting task. Only one of the doors was in use, and the first thing that happens is a security check. You have to walk through a metal detector and all your stuff are going through a x-ray machine.

Then, before entering check in area, there is another x-ray and metal detector point. This one is customs control...

And then, I was at the international check in area. I had to wait for about 10 minutes before the check in started. I was surprised to find out that now also here olci would have been possible but I had a bag to check in and I was the second one in the queue. So, the waiting time was short.

I was assigned 13C, an aisle seat. I was a bit worried that maybe the flight would be full?

Then it was time for passport control. For some reason although there was a huge queue, all checks seemed to take forever. All passports were checked with a magnifying glass and ultraviolet light. I even had to take my glasses off. Of course I had nothing to be afraid of but the passport officer looked like she was serious and almost ready to think that I am one of the most wanted international criminals. Until she suddenly stamped my passport, smiled and gave my passport to me.

Now it was time for the final security check, the most normal one. Except that here you didn't have to take your belt or jacket off, no shoes off (like the last time I was here) and liquids could be in my bag during screening. But I had to go through full body scanner. And then I was through!

Airside (no photos allowed, so this is the only photo I have)
http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/1366/img1279tz.jpg

I walked to a cafe, ordered coffee and raspberry filled pancakes. And enjoyed the free wifi. Soon it was time to board the plane!

Finnair AY152
Yekaterinburg (SVX) – Helsinki (HEL)
Embraer 190
OH-LKH
Seat 13A (window)
Scheduled time 06:50 – 07:00


At the entrance, an older FA was greeting me very friendly. I immediately asked her if this was going to be a full flight because I had 13C and I was looking forward to having an entire row for me. She said that the flight wasn't full and she was going to see what se could do. At first I should go to my assigned seat and then later she would come to talk to me.

I took my seat and nobody seemed to be taking the window seat. Soon the FA came to talk to me. There should be 65 passengers and 49 have boarded so far. So, most probably I could have an entire row, she said.

And as some more passengers had boarded, she came to tell me that now boarding is now completed and I could take the window seat if I wanted. Exceptionally good service!

View from my window seat
http://img195.imageshack.us/img195/9015/img1281xw.jpg

Bye, air bridge
http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/7308/img1286xw.jpg

Then captain made an announcement. First in Finnish he welcomed us all aboard and told that we would leave on schedule and should be in Helsinki also according to schedule. He also decided to be funny and cracked several jokes. In English he at first congratulated Russia for winning the ice hockey world championship title which caused some laughter in Russian passengers (and I really think that atleast 95 % of all passengers were Russians).

Pushback
http://img36.imageshack.us/img36/5716/img1288hz.jpg

Tupolev 204
http://img52.imageshack.us/img52/1552/img1292l.jpg

http://img821.imageshack.us/img821/1396/img1294hp.jpg

http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/6337/img1300kz.jpg

Take off
http://img407.imageshack.us/img407/2383/img1313pz.jpg

http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/9968/img1322jj.jpg

http://img651.imageshack.us/img651/8241/img1325tp.jpg

Soon after take off the service started. I had coffee, orange juice and Coke light. And sandwiches were offered! My sandwich wasn't very tasty though.

I was thirsty – so I drank my oj before this picture was taken
http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/9229/img1326lq.jpg

I was offered more coffee and orange juice by the friendly attendants but I declined.

After that I tried to get some sleep but I stayed awake for the whole flight. But luckily it felt much shorter than 3 hours.

Approaching Helsinki close to Vuosaari harbour
http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/3916/img1339pzz.jpg

Tuusulanjärvi lake
http://img546.imageshack.us/img546/2617/img1344jv.jpg

Arrival was on time
http://img513.imageshack.us/img513/4626/img1352.JPG

Reaching our parking position
http://img836.imageshack.us/img836/5410/img1358no.jpg

Yes, this was an Embraer flight!
http://img100.imageshack.us/img100/8162/img1360ig.jpg

We were taken to the terminal by bus. Passport control was quick and I had my bag also quickly.

I walked straight to Starbucks (the first one in Finland) that had been opened 6 days earlier in the arrivals hall and bought me a latte. After drinking my coffee, I walked outside and took a Finnair City Bus to the center.

Good morning, Helsinki
http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/6725/img1363j.jpg

Once I had reached the center, I went straight to my office where I was around 8:20 AM. I managed to work until 1 PM. Then I found myself too tired and went home.

Although I was tired afterwards, I am glad that I made this trip. Not only because I love Embraer 190 aircraft, but also because I got to meet my friend and see interesting sights. Maybe I will travel to Russia in summer again!

My next trip is an epic journey with (only) four inaugural flights: LPP-CPH-OSL-HEL/HEL-CPH-TXL-HEL-TXL-ARN/ARN-HEL in June.

Have a nice day 

Jani

My previous reports:

My First Trip Report: HEL-ARN-VIE-MXP-WAW-HEL
Groundhog day? My week report



319,320,321,333,343,388,717,732,733,735,736,73G,738,752,AB4,AR1,AR8,ATR,AT7,D9S,D10,DH4,E45,E70,E90,F27,F50,M82,M83,M90,
User currently onlinevio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1435 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 8543 times:

Wow! What an interesting trip! Russia is one of my top destinations, from every point of view (culture, people, history, food, party and of course natural beauty). Thanks for sharing


Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 3, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 8442 times:

Hi Jani-mate!

Good to see your Siberia story up! Very nice to read and excellent pictures from Jekaterinburg (wonder when they rename it "Jeltsinburg"?), Perm and of course the trip to Perm 36, something which I would find extremely interesting. Maybe one day I will actually take the plunge and visit Russia properly...

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Waiting for a bus in downtown Helsinki (easy to notice that it's a public holiday)

In some civilized countries people would be on the streets, celebrating a holiday, but not here. The bad weather might have something to do with it, though.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
FIDS

My my, aren't you quite early there - you know it is deserted at that hour so there's no need to be there more than an hour ahead of your flight anyway...

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Chongqing – wait for me! I will be visiting you in December!

Me too, me too!

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
And I have to admit that I was so tired that I was waiting for the service to start so that I could then have some sleep.

Despite having a "tupsluuri" already?

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Inflight magazine Blue Wings

Nice, the very same issue is here on my table waiting for me to read it after getting done with this!

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Pasta salad and Coke Light (Diet Coke as Americans call it)

Wow, quite surprised to see there being something more substantial than the by-now standard AY sandwich!

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
After snapping the previous photo, an older female FA came to me and told that it was prohibited to take photos. It might cause problems for our radio transmissions, she said... Well, who was I to argue with her, I put my camera away. But come on, next time come up with better explanations!

What? That is so wrong and stupid! Never thought you'd get this with Finnair as well! Those grandmas are only worrying about the new AY management actually putting them to work for their inflated pay, they don't care for minor details like cameras anyway.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
I did and she quickly replied: ”F*ck, I am going to bath now. Wait outside on the street.”

Jani, ever the gentleman.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
She prepared a lunch for us and then we walked to her work in the center.

Some nice Russian hospitality here! Hope you brought her some Angry Birds candy  .

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
In this way no-one can buy all the tickets for a certain train and then sell them at a premium later.

Ahh, this sounds very Russian.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
We did buy 2nd class tickets, not my desired 3rd class.

How about 9th class?

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
So I was now on my first intercontinental train journey heading back to my beloved Europe after spending almost 24 hours in Asia

Hilarious! But I love the idea.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Perm 2 railway station (that is actually the name of this station – wonder if they have Perm 1 somewhere?)

Well Perm 1 used to exist but a certain experiment with weapons of mass destruction back in the 60's caused it not to exist anymore. Everything about it is classified.
¨

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Interesting art – wood! Nobody burned it down yet!

If it only were in Gävle...

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Perm had plenty of buses imported from Germany (with German ads still attached)

Hah, wonder if the local supermarkets stock that Pilsner?

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Crossing Kama river, a part of even larger river Volga (and a funny name for all Finns – but not as funny as Pano restaurant that Flying Finn found)

Haha, "River of Stuff" - classic.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
We stepped out of the bus in the middle of nowhere – and there goes the bus

Ugh, time for that sinking feeling in your stomach. I bet you wouldn't tried this alone without a local interpret and a guide.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Perm 36 is the only camp that has been turned into a museum! It was closed as a labor camp in 1987. Entry fee for the museum for 2 persons was 100 rubles.

They could've done a bit more to promote the place though - it sounds like getting there is really a hassle unless you are part of a tour group (I doubt there are many of those) or have your own wheels (preferably 4x4).

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Comfortable beds

And I thought the wooden beds I saw at Dachau a couple of months ago looked bad!

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Grocery store with only one brand of water but a lot of beer brands (and all customers seemed to be drunk in the middle of the day)

That's rural Russia for you. Sounds quite nice actually.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Perm 2 station in the evening light at 10 PM (remember, clocks at stations run in Moscow time)

That must be SO confusing.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
2nd class compartment

I wonder how 3rd class would've looked then?

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Trans Hotel Yekaterinburg

Errr, I'm afraid to ask what kind of "trans" do their refer here? Did you see a lot of two meter tall, hairy "women" with surprisingly low and raspy voices?

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
The driver didn't speak any english but luckily airport is almost an universal word.

I actually had once a major problem trying to explain to a Russian speaking taxi driver that I wanted a ride to the airport. "Airport", "Aeroport" and all kinds of permutations didn't seem to work until I saw a light bulb flashing over his head and he finally figured out where I wanted to go. This was in Ventspils, Latvia.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
I was assigned 13C, an aisle seat. I was a bit worried that maybe the flight would be full?

So why didn't you ask for a window seat right there and then?

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
And sandwiches were offered! My sandwich wasn't very tasty though.

So back to the crummy sandwiches we go. AY has really gone down (and yet I'm booking a pair of flights with them right after getting done with this reply...).

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Reaching our parking position

Why does Finavia always treat the non-Schengen Embraers as second class citizens - forcing them to use this apron parking position with a bus ride - the very same thing happened to me when coming in from SVO back in February.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
After drinking my coffee, I walked outside and took a Finnair City Bus to the center.

Good that you drank if before entering the bus, they'd throw you out like me.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
My next trip is an epic journey with (only) four inaugural flights: LPP-CPH-OSL-HEL/HEL-CPH-TXL-HEL-TXL-ARN/ARN-HEL in June.

So you didn't cancel the HEL sidetrip? You know I won't be there nor will makeree. But looking forward to our joint flights...!


User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5100 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 8429 times:

Jani -

Fascinating report - loved the photos of the Gulag, and hearing your adventures. AY's YCL food offering is rather good.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 5, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 8335 times:

Hi Jani


Great report, thanks for putting it up!
Interesting flights and pictures.
Thanks for sharing the SVX pics as well, something we don't get to see everyday.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineQuokkas From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 7660 times:

Hi Jani,

A very interesting trip report. It is nice to be able to visit friends and go exploring together. Nice photos of Yekaterinburg and Perm. That visit to the camp would have evoked some eerie feelings. Looks like you were lucky with your timings too, getting a lift in the marshrutka and then the right tram.

Very good service from the crew who allowed you to have the window seat on the return flight and it is always nice when the pilot injects a bit of personality into his messages.

Thanks for sharing.

Roy / Quokka


User currently offlineInitious From Singapore, joined Dec 2008, 1065 posts, RR: 15
Reply 7, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 7252 times:

Greetings AYA333!

This is certainly a very unique report, featuring a place in Russia that I've never heard of (nor do I know how to spell it!). It was great following you on your tour and taking the transportation in Russia. The trains and buses look pretty interesting to me. I was totally absorbed in reading your report!

Was it uncomfortable to be stuck in an E190 for a 3 hour flight? Pretty surprised that AY could use E190 for a 3 hour flight, though they would use an A320 family aircraft instead.

Regards,
Daniel



One way I will fly around the world!
User currently offlinelucce From Finland, joined Jun 2011, 123 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 7213 times:

It's always nice to see some more exotic trip reports. It's also good to know what it really meant when people were sent off to Siberia.

Even after all the cutbacks AY product looks quite nice. I see they have changed the safety card design, did you happen to take a picture of them? BTW do they still hand out chocolates before landing?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):
What? That is so wrong and stupid! Never thought you'd get this with Finnair as well! Those grandmas are only worrying about the new AY management actually putting them to work for their inflated pay, they don't care for minor details like cameras anyway.

Well, like it or not electronics are prohibited during the approach by EUR-OPS. It's not the crews job to decide which rules to adhere to, they need to enforce them regardless.


User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2435 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 7130 times:

The TR sounds very interesting, unfortunately I can't view all pictures - I guess the up-load takes too long...

User currently offlineHELyes From Finland, joined Oct 2010, 943 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 4 hours ago) and read 7030 times:

What a great and unusual TR, thanks!

The only problem is:

Quoting debonair (Reply 9):
unfortunately I can't view all pictures

...like can't view any of the pics on the SVX-HEL leg.


User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 990 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week ago) and read 6567 times:

Great report!

Especially the report on the destination is well appreciated. Always nice to read about a less visited / unknown place!


User currently offlineRussianGirl From Russia, joined Jan 2011, 107 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (2 years 4 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 5687 times:

Zdravstvuite Jani!
Great report with nice and exotic(even for me) pics of Russia  
Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
2nd class compartment

What about your impressions about Russian trains?? As for me, I hate them...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):
I wonder how 3rd class would've looked then?

It looks like this (it's not my photo)
http://s2.ipicture.ru/uploads/20120529/h38TUfK8.jpg

Vsego dobrogo,
Anastasia


User currently offlineAYA333 From Finland, joined Aug 2008, 110 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 4 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5493 times:

Thanks for all the comments!

Quoting vio (Reply 2):
Thanks for sharing

My pleasure!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):
(wonder when they rename it "Jeltsinburg"?)

Never? I guess that most Russians hate mr Yeltsin? But atleast they have a university named after him in Yekaterinburg + a statue.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):
Some nice Russian hospitality here! Hope you brought her some Angry Birds candy .

Fazer chocolates, yes. But it was definitely surprising and nice to be offered lunch and breakfast 
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):
I bet you wouldn't tried this alone without a local interpret and a guide.

I guess you're right. Rural Russia really might have been too much for me alone!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):
They could've done a bit more to promote the place though - it sounds like getting there is really a hassle unless you are part of a tour group (I doubt there are many of those) or have your own wheels (preferably 4x4).

That was our thought exactly! They have some tours from Perm available but for example there were no signs from the main road... Well, maybe in the future.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 3):
So you didn't cancel the HEL sidetrip? You know I won't be there nor will makeree. But looking forward to our joint flights...!

Yes, I am still taking it. Sounds far too nice to cancel. A bit too early, but nice. And how could I live my sunday without Helsingin Sanomat?

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 4):
Fascinating report - loved the photos of the Gulag, and hearing your adventures.

Thanks!

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 5):
Thanks for sharing the SVX pics as well, something we don't get to see everyday.

Yes, I always wonder why because Russia is a fascinating country!

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 6):
It is nice to be able to visit friends and go exploring together.

I love it as well! I usually travel alone so it's sometimes very nice to travel with good friends!

Quoting Initious (Reply 7):
Was it uncomfortable to be stuck in an E190 for a 3 hour flight?

No, quite opposite actually. Really nice legroom, so no problems.

Quoting lucce (Reply 8):
Even after all the cutbacks AY product looks quite nice. I see they have changed the safety card design, did you happen to take a picture of them? BTW do they still hand out chocolates before landing?

No picture of the safety card, sorry. And no chocolates. But the service was really good, especially on the return leg.

Quoting debonair (Reply 9):
unfortunately I can't view all pictures - I guess the up-load takes too long...

I can see them ok on my Mac but on my work PC I have the same problem. I guess it's because of the long load time as well. Sorry 
Quoting HELyes (Reply 10):
What a great and unusual TR, thanks!

Thanks.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 11):
Great report!

Thanks.

Quoting RussianGirl (Reply 12):
Zdravstvuite Jani!

Здравствуйте, Анастасия!

Quoting RussianGirl (Reply 12):
What about your impressions about Russian trains?? As for me, I hate them...

I like them actually. They are not the most luxurious ones but they are very practical. I have travelled them before, and for some odd reason I even like the platskart travel  But planes are nicer, of course  



319,320,321,333,343,388,717,732,733,735,736,73G,738,752,AB4,AR1,AR8,ATR,AT7,D9S,D10,DH4,E45,E70,E90,F27,F50,M82,M83,M90,
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 14, posted (2 years 4 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5425 times:

Quoting AYA333 (Reply 13):
I can see them ok on my Mac but on my work PC I have the same problem. I guess it's because of the long load time as well. Sorry 

No, I started wondering why this report always crashed my Android phone's browser and well, it is your images:

img.jpg JPEG 2511x1489 2511x1489+0+0 8-bit DirectClass 360KB 0.000u 0:00.009

Instead of scaling the images to the proper size beforehand you are forcing the browser to scale them down which is much much more inefficient as there's much more data to transfer and the browser has to load the large image in memory anyway. Looks like lesser computers (non Macs then, works fine with my MBP  ) give up and refuse to load all the images.

For the future scale down the images to the largest allowed size here (800x600) before uploading them to Photobucket or whatever hosting site you use. Image Magick works fine for this, as does any image editing software but IM is darn easy to automate with shell scripts.


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3285 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (2 years 4 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5363 times:

Hey Jani!

Very nice report. For some reason every time I opened the report in Mozilla (three times!), it caused my computer to crash   Finally I've got it open in Google Chrome...very strange!

I didn't realise that AY flew to Yekaterinburg - nice they offer these sorts of route, but the flight times are just terrible! (sort of similar to a lot of the OS flight out of VIE to the near East). Service looks nice, but I think they should have served a hot breakfast on this "intercontinental" flight!

Lovely pictures of Russia - I really want to go back sometime. I just loved my trip there, going from Moscow, to Petrosavordsk, the Solovetsky islands, Murmansk, then finally St.Petersburg. It's so nice the summer, with the long evenings and cheap beer!

It was nice that you visited the Gulag. My 2nd favourite ever book (One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich) was set in a gulag. It's important that these sorts of places aren't bulldozed from history.

Thanks again!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8552 posts, RR: 55
Reply 16, posted (2 years 4 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 4802 times:
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Hi Jani,

Great report and pictures - interesting the Coke is Coke Light, it's called Diet Coke here.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
we agreed on Perm as that would allow us to visit a camp for Soviet political prisoners, Gulag. This camp was called Perm 36

- What a great place to visit, these placed must have been awful to have been imprisoned in.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
an older female FA came to me and told that it was prohibited to take photos. It might cause problems for our radio transmissions, she said... Well, who was I to argue with her, I put my camera away. But come on, next time come up with better explanations!

- Agreed!

Loved the pictures of your trip, Russia is a funny country, a mix of cultures, trying to develop itself but seemingly stuck in the ways of the past, I would love to visit but the wife is quite cold to the idea.

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlinedeltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1061 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (2 years 4 months 22 hours ago) and read 4037 times:

Hi Jani!

Again, a very nice report!
Very interesting to read about your trip to Russia, you seemed to have a good time!

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
Pasta was surprisingly delicious!

That does indeed look tasty.

Quoting AYA333 (Thread starter):
As I don't speak any Russian, except for a couple of phrases and f-words

Well what more do you really need to know? 

Martin


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