July 16, 2003

Russia - Rubles or Protocol

We arrived at BMW St Petersburg at 10:30 – we were late as usual. Like the day before Natalie greeted us with a smile like long lost friends. Within minutes the bikes were whisked away for the pads to be fitted. The day was again getting hotter and whilst waiting for the bikes we used the time to take some photos of the bikes and our hosts at BMW St…
July 15, 2003

Russia - cultural St. Petersburg

St Petersburg truly deserves its reputation as the Venice of Russia. We awoke to glorious weather and spent the day walking the city. Thirty minutes walk from our hotel was BMW St Petersburg. Both the 1100 and 650 were in need of front brake pads (Autodom in Moscow had been out of stock). Natalie welcomed us and our bikes were booked in for 10:00 the following morning. 15mins later we…
July 14, 2003

Russia - A hellish ride

Bleary eyed, we rolled out of bed early as we were meeting Vladimir at MacDonald’s and following him with Denis to see the ‘Ohlins man’. A 45 minute ride out of Moscow we arrived at what looked like a run down block of flats but which turned out to be the ex-headquarters of the former Soviet motocross and speedway teams. Dozens of hard won trophies still line the corridor, simply…
July 12, 2003

Russia - Emergency Ohlins repair

Relying now purely on the GPS we made our way across Moscow back to BMW Autodom in order to say our final farewells and thank-you's to the people that had looked after us so well. With the bikes loaded up we were ready to leave and make our way to St Petersburg – it was now around 12:00. Unfortunately the rear Ohlins shock on the 1100 had different plans for…
July 11, 2003

Russia - jewels within the Kremlin walls.

Having been frustrated at our earlier attempts to get into the Kremlin, today we were on a mission. As we walked through the gardens that skirt the exterior of the Kremlin we were approached by a guide, who asked if we needed her services. We quickly agreed a price of $35 and off we went. As it turned out this was money well spent. Our guide had been working as…
July 10, 2003

Russia-Autodom

9:30am found us at the front of the hotel drinking far too much coffee than is good for us. The familiar hum of the BMW twin caught our attention as we turned to see a kitted-out BMW R1100RS pull up to the bar: Vladimir Tchaikovsky had arrived with all the panache of a world cup racer. As it turned out he was!! Before Vladimir’s position with BMW Motorrad as after…
July 09, 2003

Russia-Playing tourist

With the sun streaming through the windows we awoke at 8am....the room was already 35 degrees. Today was a sightseeing day – a time to be playing tourist. We wandered the outskirts of the Kremlin and the GUM department store that is now full of every European brand name you can think of! The days of queuing and empty shelves are long gone, for the elite in Moscow at least.…
July 08, 2003

Russia - Red square and the Kremlin

Wow! What a day. It is now 1am and we are in Moscow. Our hotel has 5 thousand rooms and is literally a stones throw from the Kremlin! With the UK 3-hours behind we have just called our parents from the very centre of Red Square – cool or what!? We had left Vologda at around 10 am and with the exception of food and fuel breaks rode non-stop to…
July 07, 2003

Russia - Ivan the Terrible

The day started early, as our room was already muggy. With our shorts and t-shirts unpacked, our first port of call was the Archbishops courtyard. Now we’d mentioned some the gory history associated with Ivan the Terrible – so here you go. St Sofia’s cathedral and the bell tower, adorned by its huge golden globes, was built for Ivan the Terrible. This fantastic building was erected in the record time…
July 06, 2003

Russia - Vologda

Vologda city offers sightseers a variety of churches and some very gory history for good measure. A quick walk into the centre last night had given us an idea to the days sightseeing. We arrived in the main square by St Sofia’s Cathedral and bell tower to find hundreds of people leaving Sunday service from the three chapels that form the centre. As we stood and watched, processions of richly…

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