Not that left!

Posted by on 24, Jul 2010 in 2010 - The Caucasus, Eastern Europe, Europe, Russia

Not that left!

We left Rostov in a hurricane and it felt like we were driving on two wheels for the first 100kms as the wind swept across the flat land. Our route was planned to keep us off the main roads and take us on the small roads to Volgograd. These by and large have been of reasonable standard and cut through the now Fenlike farmlands in a series of long perfectly straight roads with a bend every now and then to keep you on your toes. There is very little traffic, few villages just farmland growing sunflowers and some kind of wheat. After a day and a half the farmland begins to give way to steppe and we start seeing cows and horses grazing it.

We’ve had a few problems with the sat nav since we got to Russia and it was convinced the other day that we were North of Moscow! It must be taking lessons from Linda. Poor Lindas had a hard time of it this trip, the curly scripts of Georgia and Armenia at least had English translations occasionally, but here in Russia most signs are in Cyrilic’ occasionally in what seems to be a cross between Latin and cyrilic and only rarely in plain Latin. Add to this womens uncanny ability to say left when they mean right and mens unerring ability to to turn right when told left, only to find that really was left and we thought we had ended up far from our intended route when we arrived in Elista and were confronted by a town full of Budhist statues and temples and people who looked Tibetan! This is however the largest Budhist city in Europe, probably the only one too, and the temple is a wonderful sight with bhudas and pagodas surrounding the main beautifully decorated temple. Every few minutes a wedding party turned up for photos and we spent a lovely couple of hours watching them pose on the manicured lawns and waterfalls.

The town center is a clash of cultures with a Budhist park and temple being overlooked by a statue of Lenin who looks somewhat miffed, either at the temple of the 50 or so games of chess going on beside him! Even The bus shelters are the shape of temples and the information boards look like prayer wheels. But it was a very cheerful place with lots of children and families wandering around, we really liked the place.

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