There is always an excuse not to write blogs about our trip, and that is mine.
We haven’t had a day off the bikes since Astrakhan, at the end of our North South traverse of Russia.
We had 3 currencies in a day, 6 countries in a week and when we got to the amazing towns and cities in the afternoons, the last thing I was going to do was tap (slowly) on a computer.
We got out of Russia with-out paying any bribes, found a farm road into isolated Transdneistr, sort of a country as it is not quite part of Moldova. We had to pay to get out of this one though. (three times)
After my swim in the Black Sea I spent an evening with a lovely Vera who brought a translator along and quizzed me ( in detail) on life in NZ and whether she would find a good man if she comes to NZ.
In Iassi (pronounced Yash) in Romania, after the boys had retired for the night, I wandered the streets watching the vibrant night life. There I met the wonderful Oxana when I wandered into an antique shop.
She greeted me in Romanian, then proceeded through the languages to the East until Russian, no real luck yet. Then she started west with Hungarian, German, French and eventually English. We sat around an exquisite table, and talked most of the night, her old boss delivered us pop-corn. 21 years old, economics graduate trapped between antagonistic regimes that won’t allow her a passport or visa. Her parents from different countries and she was born in another. It is a complexity that we in NZ are fairly sheltered from.
We also managed to see the newest member of our world family, Heiko a German student who lived with us in NZ has married the gorgeous Astrid and they have since had energetic toddler Robin. A lovely few hours were spent admiring him.
Enough rambling. We went to see the queen, we all got back safely. Now I’m up into the flood ravaged North of England to do an Expedition Medicine Course.
Can’t wait to get home (ONLY A WEEK) to cuddle my grand babies, and have a bubbly with my girl-mates