Tula to the Ukraine Border

The weather is crap…it’s a constant snowstorm with a 50kph wind searing the empty plains and anything that happens to be on them…namely me….so I keep driving from Vicuga south to Tula

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Galina thoughtfully provided me with a little bit of Vicuga to help me along….these potato pancake/patie/dumpling/thingamajigs which, when warmed up on the custom-made in-car oven (or the gearbox cover and heater) for 20 minutes, then dipped in my freshly thawed ketchup, made for a great roadside snack!

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I arrived in Tula late ready for a run at the border within the following few days. The Satnav provides some decidedly dodgy instructions when it comes to locating hotels and at midnight it directed me to this building…..

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It was open….there was a kind of reception…..But when I went inside, I wasn’t in no hotel pal……

No….as if transported back in time I was in the Tula CCCP Headquarters…..looking just like the Soviet had never collapsed! There were renovations on the first floor but the foyer looked like it did in 1956…..

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I love it when random shit like this happens……and I reckon Russia is probably the most random country on the planet.

Tula has the obligatory Great Patriotic War monuments, this one commemorating all the great city battles in the defence of Russia.

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Other than that it seems to be a centre of very dirty industry…

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Not that I can comment with a truck that is looking decidedly worse for wear….it hasn’t had a wash since the UK!

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…and even the trailer is growing mud-ice extensions….

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So I arrive in Orel…the last decent sized town before the Ukraine border…..another candidate for the Soviet time-warp award…..

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Get to a roadside motel…..pay my 700 roubles (about £12)…..eat a dinner of 4 meat pancakes, 2 fried eggs on ham and cheese….a plate of fried potato….and a large orange juice…191 roubles (about £3.75)…and hit the sack, ready for my assault on the Russia-Ukraine Border!

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