My life has been full of great timing. No more so than today here in Yekaterinburg. Just a 7 iron from my hotel is the Red and Black Bar, a real Russian biker bar if I am describing it correctly. I took some photos of some really great bikes.
But nobody in the entire place has heard of Sturgis! What self-respecting biker can be a real biker without paying homage to the holy grail of Sturgis? Of course, they all do not have Harleys. Some have a Russian brand X, and some have a Victory or, pray tell, a Honda, Suzuki, or Ducati!
I find it all so amusing, on the other side of the world. Bikers are bikers. Meanwhile, my new friend from Switzerland, Michael has found himself in a hotel complete with a strip club!! I am trying to get the name and location of that hotel as soon as I can. Mostly he complained of the cold showers. Does he not realize that cold showers and strip clubs go together?
I had my first really decent meal this morning at my hotel. Soon after I landed in Yekaterinburg, I got to my hotel, checked in, showered in a real shower, and sent my laundry off. I went down for breakfast after dropping off some laundry with the front desk. There are still not many guests here, as it is shoulder season.
Imagine my surprise when I saw many of my favorites, or at least things that I can recognize. First, there were about 4 or 5 types of bread, and a real toaster, with butter, and four kinds of jam and jelly. I also found several kinds of sweet rolls, fresh fruit, and yogurt, along with blinis and several types of cream. Delicious!
Over on the heavy-duty side, I found French fries, along with a typical American breakfast of powdered scrambled eggs, sausage, oatmeal it appears, and aforementioned French Fries. Even some cold cereals and milk were available for the first time on this trip. I could hardly contain myself.
Later, after walking some of the city, I had to have a cold Heineken on tap in my hotel lobby bar. They did not seem to hold the cold beer in high enough importance on the train. My cold Heineken was the best beverage of the trip, so far. My faith in Russian beer culture has been re-established. However, I tried to local beer on tap AFTER the Heineken. Bad idea, as it did not hold up to the Dutch, and really world standard.
Well, after my sushi dinner tonight, I plan to hit the biker bar party. It’s a little more exciting than deciding whether to have cold soup with my dinner on the train. I arrived in time for a band playing many American favorites, in English! They were about average for a bike bar type of band, not that I have a great deal of biker bar experience. My younger brother, Bob, is the Harley guy.
By the way, the real Asia-Europe border lies about 40 kilometers to the west, on the main road to Moscow. Another marker lies along the railway line, 36 kilometers west of Yekaterinburg at Vershina. Imagine that! Standing over the border of Europe and Asia, not more than a few months after straddling the northern and southern hemisphere at the Equator in Ecuador. Back in 1971, I stood over the line where the Berlin Wall separated East and West Berlin. What could be next? Seems the world has too many lines!
Today, I plan to do more walking, since I get very little exercise when I am on the Trans Siberian, or any other train for that matter. The walking will justify returning to the hotel in mid or late afternoon for another tall, cold, Heineken!