Day 167 | Sunday August 28
After some thrilling days in Moscow it was time to leave. Latvia is the country where I want to go next. I tried to look for possibilities to travel to Asia via Moscow but it was impossible because I couldn’t make that within the 30 days of my visa and it was to short time to arrange visas for the countries.
The M9 is the highway to Latvia and the nearest city from Moscow Rhzev, so I aimed to get there today, a 225km drive. In a small town of which I even don’t know the name of I found a gasstation with a 32A socket where I recharged. With my translation document I explained my situation and they allowed me to charge there.
In Rhzev I didn’t have a place to stay and after a lot of days with people around me all day I was up for a bit more privacy, so I tried to get into an hotel again. With Google I found 3 hotels in the city, the first 2 didn’t exist anymore but the last one, Hotel Rhzev, was still there. It was a challenge to explain what I was doing and what I needed but the document and the newspaper article helped a lot. They were willing to offer me a room. Some Russians came to me and had big interest in the car. With translators in iPhones I explained most details of the car.
Day 168 | Monday August 29
Andrei my host in Moscow found a friend of a friend in Veliki Luki who was willing to host me. The city was 250km away so I knew it was going to be a long day. I needed 3 gasstations with electricity supply to eventually reach the city around 9pm. I met my host Sergey at his office and we drove to his apartment. A very modern one, more than any other I saw before in Russia. Sergeys English was not so good but still he did everything to make me feel comfortable, making me shaslicks and more delicious food. After some food and drinks he went back to work, apparently he is a night owl and he left me alone to do some work.
Day 169 | Tuesday August 30
It was time to leave Russia for good. My time in Russia was unbelievable interesting and pleasant. I love the Russian mentality and their hospitality. Also the country is something else and I love how things work here, it’s not so smooth as the countries I’ve been before and I like that.
I reached the border with Latvia around 3. I was a bit nervous because I was afraid for problems with the late registration but fortunately I could pass without problems! And way quicker then when entering Russia.
After the border my battery was nearly empty, rain reduced the range a lot. There was a town called Ludza but I stranded a couple of miles before that and actually had 1% left. Normally I am a bit more cautious but today I just wanted to go. I stopped the car and started walking and look for electricity. It was on the country side and was hoping to find my luck at a farm but no-one was home. After a kilometer there was a street with more normal houses and some people were working in the garden. I approached them and asked if the spoke English. One of the guys started talking in a perfect British accent. He was a Latvian but moved to England 10 years ago and was here now for holidays. What a gift. It was ok to charge the car there so I picked up the car, drove back and plugged it in. He and his dad offered me some tea, cookies and we had some interesting talks. After 2 hours I had enough range to reach Ludza.
In Ludza I had no plan too and when the darkness started to fall I needed to hurry up. The woman at the local gasstation didn’t speak English so I thought to ask somewhere else first. I walked around and some young people where smoking outside. I asked them for help and they thought the gasstation was the best option. He wanted to help me as an translator. At the gasstation they explained it was not possible as she had only one socket and than she needed to unplug to ice cream fridge, not an option. But the guy had an solution, he told me to wait a few minutes. Than a friend of his stopped by with the car and he told me “he you are from the Netherlands” in almost fluent Dutch, huh? Apparently this guy, Dennis is working in Holland and learned the language. Such coincidence. His friend stopped by who just picked up an extension cord and we drove to another house where we plugged in.
He offered to come to his house to have some food. I was constantly switching between English, Dutch and Russian to explain what I was doing. They were very impressed and thought I was a bit crazy. They don’t travel much, they like to stay around their house. The guys, 22 and 23 already had children so life here is a bit different.
When I told them I had no place to stay for the night I could crash on one of their beds. Latvia so far pretty awesome!