An Unpleasant stay in Vladimir, Part 2

Previous page: An unpleasant stay in Vladimir, part 1


We enter Artyom's home in Vladimir

The entry into Artyom's home was via the usual heavy steel door at ground level then up several flights of stairs to his place on the second floor, then in through the second and third sets of doors. We went inside and put our loads down and, as is practice in Russia, we took off our shoes. His place was poorly lit and furniture had been placed such that it was difficult to walk through into the lounge with large rucksacks in our hands. Artyom indicated for us to sit down on two large armchairs which he said would fold out into two beds.


The kitchen was very unhygienic The kitchen was very unhygienic

Dirty kitchen

Once we were sitting down we could take in the fact that the place was not overly clean. Artyom seemed very uncomfortable talking to us. It seemed impossible for him to look us in the eyes. He would always look at a 90 degree angle from us.

We tried to be sociable and asked the usual questions about his type of work and whether he had brothers and sisters etc, in fact anything we could think of to keep some sort of conversation going.

He had a cat which fortunately gave us something else to talk about. There was a distinct awkwardness in the air. Artyom said he would make some tea.

We drink our cups of tea

The sink hadn't been cleaned in ages The kitchen sink looks a lot cleaner than it really was

Whilst he was in the kitchen we heard coughing coming from another room. It must be his Mum we whispered to ourselves. We had read on the Couch Surfing web site that his Mum lived there too.

There was also a TV going in another room. We wondered why his Mum stayed in her room rather than coming out to say hello. Mugs of tea were produced in distinctly grubby mugs. It was exceedingly hot and strong.

With expected grace we managed to get it all down out throats.


We feel distinctly unwanted

Ages later Ian had to ask if he might use the toilet. We hadn't been shown where the loo or the bathroom were when we arrived. Artyom showed him and then disappeared off somewhere, to the kitchen, I think. When Ian got back into the lounge he whispered to me that I would have to close my eyes when entering the bathroom. I dreaded him saying that.

Artyom then busied himself on his computer which was right next to the two armchairs. Any conversation with him was instantly suspended as he was engrossed in his work online.

Ian and I sat there like a pair of dummies. We then tried to make idle chit-chat between the two of us about the weather forecast etc. I got the subject around to the fact that it might not be sensible to stay a second night if it was going to rain the next day. It's a bit hard to play the tourist in pouring rain.

In my mind I was trying to wriggle out of staying there another night. One night was going to be bad enough! In fact I didn't even fancy one night.

A change of plans

Ian caught my drift and Artyom looked online at train times for us. Luckily Ian had done his homework before we left home and he knew exactly which train number was the one we needed to go from Vladimir to Moscow. We casually said we would wait until the next morning to make a decision. We would leave it up to the weather to make the decision for us. Artyom said no more and then went back to his computer work and we sat there beside him saying virtually nothing.


Then we sensed someone was coming out of the bedroom. It turns out it was Artyom's granddad and not his mother at all. After introductions and a few greetings Ian and I both came to the conclusion that granddad really was a sweet soul and quite a gentleman. He wasn't comfortable with the fact that I introduced myself as Jean. He felt that was too familiar for him so we decided that Mrs. Morrison would be just as good.





Next page - Unpleasant stay in Vladimir, Part 3



Our trip in the order it happened:

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

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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