An unpleasant stay in Vladimir, Part 1

Previous page - Tanya's insight


We wait for Artyom in Vladimir

We climbed off the bus and looked around for Artyom who was the next Couch Surfing host we would be staying with. From his photo I remembered he had a beard. We waited for almost an hour but there was still no sign of him. We had taken pains to ensure he knew which bus we were arriving on. He had assured us he would meet us near the old train engine. The rain continued pouring and we huddled under the eaves of the station trying to ensure all our gear didn't get too wet. From there we could see our meeting point.


Eventually I plucked up the courage to ask a lady if we might use her mobile phone to call him. I showed her I would pay for the call, of course. I handed her a piece of paper with Artyom's number written on it. She keyed it in and handed me the phone but all I could hear was an engaged tone. Well that's what I assumed it was, seeing as I hadn't used a Russian phone before. I handed the phone back to the lady but she wouldn't accept any money from me.



The bus station in Vladimir The bus station in Vladimir

The bus station in Vladimir

We waited for quite a while longer and still no sign of Artyom. We knew we would have to call his number again. We picked up all our luggage and went inside the train station building. We tried to find a phone but no luck. I know that sounds ridiculous. In the end I plucked up the courage to ask a policeman if he would call Artyom for us. He agreed and dialled the number. Artyom answered in a very casual tone and then said he would be there in about half an hour! I handed the phone back to the policeman and he too refused to take any money from me as payment.

Tanya's insight The old train near the railway station

We wait again

Back outside we went to wait under the eaves again. We didn't see a bus or a car pull up - eventually Artyom just seemed to appear out of thin air. He suggested we could either walk to his place which was about 15 minutes away or we could catch the trolley bus. The walk certainly didn't appeal as we were fully laden with gear and we didn't want the gear or us to get any wetter than it already was.

We suggested we pay for a taxi then all three of us could travel back to his place by car. He wouldn't have a bar of going by taxi which we thought was quite strange. In the end we had to give in and travel by trolley bus.


The trolley bus to Artyom's place

Each of us has a large rucksack, a small rucksack and a bag to carry so you can imagine we are cumbersome travellers when climbing up into the back of a trolley bus.

Because the gear is quite bulky we stood at the back of the trolley bus rather than attempt the impossible task of sitting down. Artyom took off by himself and sat down comfortably in a seat, leaving us and the gear to sway around perilously up the back. He then indicated it was time to get off the trolley bus.


Vladimir railway station is very close to the bus station Vladimir railway station is very close to the bus station

An un-gentlemanly fellow

Luckily the rain had eased by the time the bus stopped.

We then walked from the stop to his place. Artyom never helped us with our gear in any way. The alleyways were full of pot holes and dirt had turned to mud. In parts, board had been put down to keep feet cleaner. We wheeled the big rucksacks where we could and lifted them and carried them in really mucky or un level areas.

He marched on ahead of us unaware of whether we were following him or not. There was certainly no hint of him helping us carry even a small part of the load.


Next page - Unpleasant Vladimir, Part 2


Our trip in the order it happened:

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.