Leaving Russia (Maybe)
Three days in Saint Petersburg. Time to hit the road and see what the border situation is. Turns out it is NOT pretty for us. Shelly still has no problem and is on his way to Gdansk and a ferry home to Gotland Island. Corey and I get the treatment (but we are used to it). First guard no problem. Looks at passports and says “go ahead”, cool. Second lady guard asks for motorcycle papers and then notices COPIES of registrations. Getting nervous. I tell her it is a rental motorcycle and she says “oh” and fills out a form. This might be OK after all. Get to the next lady (??) and she immediately yells that we have COPIES. Damn. We really figured we had her by the balls (and believe me I think she had ’em. Think of every stereotypical Russian woman that you have ever seen in a uniform in the movies and that was her in a nutshell) because someone had let us IN with copies. She made us stand in the sun for an hour or so, so she could demonstrate her authority. After conversing with a couple of others (and drinking a coke while taking a break, and laughing at something in Corey's passport (I think his picture, long haired hippie freak)) she let us go. Great. Got to the Latviaian border. Friendly but says “copies no good”. Here we go again. Finally after three hours and $15 for a notarized letter, they let us in. Since we had been stressed to the max and standing in the sun for hours, a beer was in order. A little roadside bar for truck drivers was a short distance away. We ordered 2 of the biggest beers they had and were told we owed $2.50 FOR BOTH. Figured the dollar was strong here. And sure enough. That night we stayed at a VERY nice hotel, had a GREAT dinner prepared by a chef that obviously had training because the pork loin was excellent and the presentation was superb (served by a waitress that smiled continually - unusual for us since NO ONE in Russia smiles). We had two beers and dessert and a prepared breakfast in the morning and when we checked out the total bill was $68 each. If you are on a fixed income (and I am) Latvia should be on your list of places to live (maybe). If you decide to move there BRING ORIGINALS - NOT COPIES. :=) We were really bummed thinking about the many borders we had to cross (Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia) but there was some GOOD news. Those countries use the European Union Protocols so we didn’t have to stop at all. Feeling better now. We are heading for Prague and will spend a couple days there and are now thinking we may have enough time for a tour of the Alps before returning to Frankfurt. No pictures as we were riding some great roads but no place to stop (except bars). Many farms and fields of corn and wheat (nostalgic for me as I drove a combine for several years in Oklahoma). Lots of roads with the trees completely covering the road which made it like we were riding in a tunnel at times. Prague soon and another update with pictures.
Rick (escapee from Russia)
Posted by rickmcd at July 12, 2011 06:51 PM GMT