Fri 31 May ‘13 – day 20 The downpour during the night woke me a few times, but I just rolled over and went back to sleep. As I have paid for the extended stay there was no need for an early rise, so I had my first lay in of the journey.
It was 1030 hours before I eventually got up and headed out and discovered that the rain had stopped and the clouds have lifted (slightly), so it was a much better day for walking than on Wednesday. I went to the internet office and asked for ½ hours access; the cashier didn’t understand the term, so it’s 30 minutes. There was a long e-mail from my sister and my niece had sent a news update; Yuriy is sorting out all the issues for later in the journey and will let me know when everything is done. I had received a ‘funny’ from a friend in New Zealand, so replied with an update about what I was doing.
I strolled back to the hotel the long way around which took me passed some of the old wooden houses a school building in need to restoration and a church. When I had reached the edge of the escarpment overlooking the river I could see the Nevsky Cathedra on the far bank of the Oka, Church of the Nativity of Our Lady and the Annunciation Monastery.
I had not been in my room very long when there was a knock at the door and a Russian lady spoke, probably asking why I hadn’t left, but I couldn’t understand a word of her rapid chat, so just pointed to myself and said English. She left and must have been told that I had paid for an extended stay as I was not disturbed again.
It was a lazy afternoon as I had seen all the sights that I wanted to visit and so just had a snooze before packing and then checking out.
The Transfer was the same taxi driver who had met me when I arrived and it didn’t take very long to get back to the station, but I saw two accidents on the way, one on the bridge over the Oka between a bus and a lorry and the other near the station where a young girls good car had been side-swiped by a wreck that probably shouldn’t have been on the road.
I had a long wait at the station, but just sat, read and people watched as there are crowds on the move as it is the start of the weekend.
The platform is announced twenty minutes before arrival, so downstairs, through the tunnel and then up again. I located the correct carriage and having boarded went to my compartment where I have an upper berth; I am sharing the Kupe with three lads who are part of a much larger group. Having stowed my luggage and made my bed we were joined by three ladies and I was informed that they were all part of a group of post-graduate students off on a field expedition. I had to explain what I am doing and while I am doing this a party commenced and the beer and brandy start to flow and I was given ‘stuff’ to eat and drink. The guidebooks advised that it would be taken as an unfriendly act if I refused, so I was in desperate need of a good English / Russian dictionary as the Lonely Planet phrasebook didn’t contain enough words to enable me to have a conversation with any degree of understanding on both sides.
The food and drink keep coming, but as it neared midnight I started to flag because there was no way in which I could keep up with students who were out to enjoy themselves. The youngest lass in the group saw that I was starting to doze off so she said “Sleep?” and when I nodded she hustled everyone else out of the Kupe and they took the party elsewhere. I was very grateful, so climbed up to my top berth, switched off the light and dropped off to sleep.