Information: The original language of this blog is German. Any other language is translated using DEEPL's machine translation (www.deepl.com), without proofreading.
With rested legs, we calmly faced the last stage to Vladivostok. We had enough time and no hurry. The density of restaurants and stores was much greater on this stretch, which we were very happy about😊. But there were no attractions even on these 800km.
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In mostly nice, warm weather, we pedaled as usual from café to café. Because the nights were still mild, we had to defend ourselves again against mosquitoes, otherwise the days were unspectacular: forest, swamp, fields, wasteland. On October 2 we entered Vladivostok over a 4km long highway bridge. After almost a year and a half on the road we had made it and reached the Pacific Ocean✌️! Before we went to our home for the next days, we enjoyed the super view of the city, its port facilities and cable-stayed bridges. Its location on the Golden Horn, the many harbors and the hilly landscape make Vladivostok a very beautiful city!
We got to stay with Warmshowers host Evgenii and he invited us on a boat tour. The tour took us around Ruski Island, always looking for seals. We didn’t see any seals, but we really enjoyed the ride and also lunch on a beach with freshly caught scallops and instant soup. What a great experience to end our stay in Russia, thank you Evgenii!
We would not have felt anything from the war in Ukraine and the Western sanctions if we had been able to pay by card and reserve accommodations online. The Russian payment system MIR works wonderfully (for the locals), Coca-Cola comes from China, McDonalds and Starbucks have been replaced by own brands, Burger-King and KFC are still there, Whatsapp works perfectly, new and used cars come from or via Japan, South Korea or China. Because of these cars, there was always much more traffic on the opposite lane than heading east. New cars are brought to the west on trucks. Used cars are driven to their destination well packed, with partially taped windshields and without license plates. This business seems to flourish especially since the sanctions (more about this in this article (in German)).
Every now and then we saw a “Z” or “V” taped on a car. In the cities, the advertising posters for temporary soldiers (“Kontrakty”) including the bonus (3600 CHF), the expected basic wage (about 1850 CHF/month), free health care and military pension (for 20 years) were omnipresent. Sometimes we saw contributions about the war on the TV in the cafes… But music videos were much more frequent and interesting😊.
At the moment we are sitting on the ferry to South Korea waiting for departure. Although we did not feel monitored or antagonized in Russia, we are glad that the trip takes us to a new country. The feeling of not being able to withdraw money anywhere or to book a flight and leave in an emergency was somewhat uncomfortable.