To Chita: 2,000odd kms of Hills, Mosquitos, friendly locals and wilderness

I left Khabarovsk excited about what lay ahead. I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I’d been fantasizing about this part of the map for the best part of a year. Now I was actually riding it! The road was still good, and flat. The Mosquitos however were something else! In Australia growing up I always remember that when ‘caravanning’ there were loads.. Russia however put Aussie Mosquitos to shame! Like swarms of flies that would attack me as soon as I got off Stella, aggressively attacking any exposed skin. I quickly started wearing trousers and my long sleeve shirt and covering myself in repellent. This at least would turn away most. A few however would never give up so easily! For the first week at least the only time I was free of them was when I was riding. I was help at ransom in my tent as soon as I stopped. Thankfully as it got colder they died off. Literally I assume!

I was expecting the Mosquitoes so wasn’t surprised. What I wasn’t expecting was big thunderstorms! Of which for several days I got drenched while riding, and one night my tent was almost flooded. I had to relocate in the middle of a storm as it was very quickly filling up with water around me. Also I had been told that most of Russia was flat. This is a lie! A good few days were flat, however two thirds of the ride I would say was hilly. The last week being particularly challenging.

I can’t write about every memory I’ve had over the past 3 weeks. Even putting them into words are really meaningless unless you actually experience it. What does stand out though mainly is the people’s kindness. Several times I wanted to buy some vegetables along the side of the road and each time my money was refused. I was given 2L of Honey by one man. It sure weighed down Stella  but was without doubt the best Honey I’ve ever tasted! It accompanied my breakfast muesli for a solid two weeks.

The last two weeks were alot more isolated and I had to carry a weeks’ worth of food with me. Water was easy to come by as there was at least one cafe a day that I passed. Camping was great and I got into a knack of knowing where to find the good spots.

So slowly the days ticked by and day by day I got closer to Chita, which almost became a mythical city. Upon arriving of course it feels just like any other city. It was nice to go into a shop which was fully stocked with (affordable) food!

I am now couchsurfing with Alexander, and local who was hosted many travellers before. I will rest here for two days before continuing on. Winter is approaching… I have a couple of options… I haven’t yet decided which one I will yet take….

 

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