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Russia (Uralsk to Samara)

We had a comfortable sleep at our free hotel room in Uralsk. Now we are off to Samara, but we still don’t know which road goes to Samara. We find a shop which seems like a travel agency to buy plane-tickets. One young girl speaks english a little. They actually don’t really know how to get to the road by bus. After asking a few people she say we can take a bus and she will show us which one. But we have only russian money, we can’t buy the bus ticket with it. They buy the ticket for us which is quite cheap indeed.

We leave the bus after some time, seems like we are out of the city. Then we see a road sign ‘Samara’, but when we ask people, they show us another way. But we trust the road sign and follow the road. We don’t wait so long, one Kazakh guy take us. He tells us which city he goes, but we don’t have any map so we don’t know the name. As long as he follow the road which we believe it goes to Samara, that’s fine with us. But after talking with our driver we find out that the road doesn’t go to Samara, it goes to Saratov. We don’t know where is Saratov. Anyway we are not gonna go back, so we enjoy our ride on the Kazakh steps. But it ends somewhere middle of the steps. He goes to his town. Literally there is nothing in the town. It’s surrounding by steps. You wonder why people live here. Answer is oil and gas.

There is no traffic, almost every 20 minutes one car pass by, but no one stops. We walk and walk… It’s not raining anymore. We find some coins on the road, that keeps us walking. At least there is something to do, also we are making money with it. 🙂 After walking more than an hour we see some of the cars who didn’t stop for us. They are waiting on the line. Because of rain one part of the road is quite muddy. Normal cars cannot go, they are waiting for the help of a tractor. We are walking around the mud. People try not to have eye-contact with us.

On the other side of the mud we start hitchhiking. 4×4 car stops. A family is going to Saratov.  They are taking us to the border. They ask about our passport, visas and if we have something dangerous in our backpack. Because they don’t want trouble at the border. Everything is fine. At the border russian guard searches our back-pack. He finds nothing.

We are back in Russia now. Family take us for a while, but there is a baby in the car and he needs to sleep. So they kick us out to have more space for the baby. Our next driver is Kurdish and he speaks turkish. He is actually a taxi driver, but he takes us for free. Then he calls his Turkish friend, Mehmet. He thinks we are crazy, hitchhiking in Russia dangerous he says. He wants to meet us, then he will host us. We are lucky again.

We meet Mehmet in Saratov. Saratov is a city next to Volga river and it seems nice. Mehmet is from Samsun, but he married a russian. Now he is russian citizen. He takes us to a cafe. Owner of the cafe is an Armenian woman and costumers are from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Turkey, no Russian… it is interesting to see this nationalities in same place. We eat there our meal then go to another place to drink coffee. Then we go to Mehmet’s place and spend the night.

Next day we are ready to go, but there is a problem. My travel mate Anıl gets bored of travelling. He says he wants to go back Turkey. It has been only 10 days in Russia, but he got bored. I can’t say I’m having so much fun. Hitchhiking is hard, there are not many interesting things to see, but still we meet nice people. I try to change his mind and he tries to change mine.  Then he leaves me. I’m pissed off. We were planning this trip for months, but he gets bored after 10 days. Now I don’t have a tent anymore. It’s raining again and I don’t know if I have a host in Samara.

I start hitchhiking alone. I need to find the road to Samara first. Asking people doesn’t help. Either they don’t answer or they don’t know. Eventually one guy goes my direction by car and he can take me for a while. Hitchhiking alone works faster. I stop a truck, he takes me to Samara. Also I contact my host in Samara. Couchsurfer Polina is happy to host me. Everything gets smooth.

Polina is hosting someone from couchsurfing for first time. She is nice and friendly. We go to her friends place. They are cooking for me. We are having a little bit communication problem. Russians don’t speak english well and I don’t speak russian. There is a nice fire-place at home. We sit in this cozy room and talk. A nice evening ends Next day Polina shows me around. Samara is also on the Volga river. People seems nicer here. Polina tells me that Samara is famous with beautiful girls. It may be true, there are many beautiful girls. In Russia you see many women working everywhere. It feels like women works more than men in Russia.

We go to Lounge-looking place to smoke water-pipe. It’s quite expensive when you compare to Turkey. (more than 20 dolars) This is the money I spend in last 10 days. We play ‘who am I?’ game when we smoke our water-pipe. Then we move to a club. I meet lots of people there and they are all interested about my journey.  Next day we do another tour in the city with Polina and at the evening we celebrate one her friends birthday.

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