Vladivostok At Last

Previous page - From Incheon to Vladivostok

 

Vladivostok airport

At long last we are setting foot in Russia. We stepped up to the front of the plane to exit the aircraft and we were all photographed as we filed past a blonde haired security lady.

 

The ridiculous bus incident

We walked down the plane steps and onto a bus which quickly filled up to 150% capacity and all of us were standing. We wondered why we needed a bus when the terminal building was so close by.

The bus slowly pulls away, we drive 20 metres and we all get off again to walk into the terminal. "Only in Russia" we tell ourselves. I wanted to photograph our plane but I was informed it was prohibited. Our exit through passport check and customs was a breeze.

 

The fron of vladivostok airport The front of Vladivostok airport


We find our Couch Surfing host

We quickly found Maria, our Couch Surfing host who had volunteered to take us into town. She has a driver so she was able to chat with us as we drove the 50 kms. into the city. We saw road construction jobs and masses of police with radar guns. Everyone drives fast. So far it really resembles a 3rd world country with pot holes everywhere and crumbling pavements. Maria was quite busy and had to go back to work so her driver kindly took us to our hotel.

 

Hotel vizit in Vladivostok Hotel Vizit Vladivostok

 

Hotel Vizit or Hotel Vladivostok

We had booked a room at Hotel Vizit Vladivostok a few weeks before we left home. We booked though the Hotel Advisor web site. However once we arrived at reception we found a slight problem. We were told that Hotel Vizit Vladivostok no longer exists. It used to be on the fourth floor of the Hotel Vladivostok but it was a totally separate entity. It now seems it has been absorbed by Hotel Vladivostok but luckily they still had our booking. Staff at the hotel spoke English so we managed to book in with little trouble. Our room was on the seventh floor.

After off-loading our gear we went down to the hotel lobby. There was an ATM there so we had a go at withdrawing some money using our Visa card. The machine was in English as well as in Russian so we managed the exercise quite well. We poked our heads into the hotel restaurant and it looks very nice - all reds and golds with plush cushions.



Buying Train Tickets In Russia

It was around 4 p.m. at this stage. We walked down to the railway station as we wanted to buy tickets for two journeys. Our tickets from Vladivostok to Ulan Ude had been purchased before we left Australia but we always wanted to be one step ahead of ourselves with regard to ticket purchasing. No last minute ticket buying for us Morrisons. So, we headed there to buy tickets for the journeys Ulan Ude to Irkutsk and then also for the next journey from Irkutsk to Perm.

 

 

 

Engiine in Vladivostok Engine at Vladivostok railway station
Another loco Another loco in Vladivostok

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We wish we could speak more Russian

There were heaps of ticket office windows and we couldn't decipher one from the other. We just stood for ages looking helpless. We approached a group of Asian youngsters who told us they had an English/Russian speaker in their group. Sure enough, there she was – an American from New Jersey who was in Vladivostok to learn how to speak Russian. She willingly offered to help us. So, the three of us stood in the queue waiting to buy our tickets. There was only one customer ahead of us yet the whole procedure still took an hour. The ticket lady serving us was most disinterested and then visibly annoyed when she realized we wanted tickets for more than one journey.

Cost of the tickets were:
1428 Rb. each for Ulan Ude to Irkutsk, Kupe (2nd) class (8 hours travel) and
9945 Rb. each for Irkutsk to Perm, 1st class (60 hours travel)

We were so thankful the American student willingly helped us. We felt guilty using an hour of her time. The only way we could think to repay her was to give her some of the bananas we had in our rucksack. It was quite cold and nearly 6 p.m. Rain was threatening so we quickly walked back up to the hotel.

On our way back up the hill we discovered there was a 24 hour grocery shop on the right-hand side of the road. We used it several times in the time we were in Vladivostok especially for buying endless bottles of drinking water. Back in our room we freshened up and went to the hotel restaurant for dinner.

Added later:

Little did we know it wasn't threatening rain at all. It was just the usual fog that descends upon Vladivostok each night.

 

Restaurant In Hotel Vladivostok

The restaurant was decorated beautifully but it was nearly empty. A young male waiter was very attentive and we had a few laughs at each other's pronunciations. We chose Borsch soup, beef stroganoff and beef dumplings which ended up being more of a soup than a main course. With the borsch came a lovely bread with a spread on it with chopped herbs then pressed into the spread. We also had sun dried tomato bread. The whole meal was totally delicious especially the stroganoff. It came to the grand sum of 880 Rb. which is roughly $34 AUD. We left our waiter a tip of 200 Rb. as we were impressed with his service. Whenever we were in the restaurant we would try to sit at the tables by the window on the left. The chairs were more like armchairs and had cushions spread over them. Very comfy.

Restaurant in the Hotel Vladivostok Restaurant at the Hotel Vladivostok
Green herbed bread The green herbed bread which Jean loved so much

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Room Amenities At Hotel Vladivostok

There was no hair drier in our room but reception cheerfully delivered one to us. I had to use it sitting in front of the TV so I had an idea of what I was doing in the reflection from the turned-off screen. There were mirrors in the room and in the bathroom but no power points were anywhere near them.

We were ready for bed and we discover our doona is so small it only covers the top surface of the bed. Nothing hung down the sides or the end of the bed. So we wondered how the doona was going to stay in place with us tossing and turning during the night. It's now 11:35 p.m. and construction work is still going on down the hill from here. Sweet dreams………

We had a shocking night's sleep and woke up to find everything was foggy. We had to shut the windows during the night as it was too noisy. That then gave us a room that was too warm. There were dogs barking all night too plus the odd car alarm going off. Ian woke with a severe headache that Panadol wouldn't budge. Panadol was the strongest pain killer we had too. He was up and showered before I even woke up as he couldn't stay in bed any longer with the pain. We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant and it was more than ample, although some of the food was barely warm.

Amursky Bay in Vladivostok Foggy view of Amursky Bay from our bedroom window
Fog outside when Ian eats his breakfast Ian at breakfast - see the fog outside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let's go and see what Vladivostok has to offer the tourist......

 

Next page - Sightseeing in Vladivostok, part 1

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Our trip in the order it happened:


Travel Planning Necessities
World time zones, world weather, currency converter, language translator services.

HostelWorld.Com
Search over 25,000 hostels.

Trip Advisor Forum - Russia
The place to find information about Russia when you can't find it elsewhere.

Way To Russia
Another very good forum

Getting A Russian Visa
The process is explained

Trains between Moscow & Saint Petersburg
Explanation of the types of trains on that route.

Firmenny Trains
An explanation of what they are.

Moscow's Railway Stations
A map of their locations and proximities.

Learn How To Speak Russian
Free lessons.

Map of St. Petersburg
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Map of Moscow
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Moscow Times Newspaper
English version.

The Russia Club
A forum for all those interested in anything "Russian".

Russian Rail Timetable
It takes a bit of mastering but Ian managed it (eventually).

The Art Of Travel
Very interesting travel information for all locations.

Smart Traveller
Australian Government's site dealing with current travel advice.

Travel Independent
A site written by travellers for travellers. Lots of information.

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