Friday, October 14, 2016


Day 16.  Sept. 26
We went to the airport at 11, delivered by a non English speaking driver.   We had quite a nice flight from Petropavlovsk to Vladivostok.   We were picked up at the airport by a slightly floozy looking blond who drove us to our hotel, the Astoria, which was quite nice, compared to the others we have been in.  When we asked her where to eat dinner that night, she said that the restaurant in our hotel, the Ogonyok, was the best place to eat;  and indeed she was right.  We had a nice crab, avocado, and grapefruit salad; black ravioli stuffed with red cavior and salmon, and duck with cherries.  

Day 17.  Sept. 27
We were picked up at our hotel by Sergei, a great guide with perfect English.  He took us to places we were happy to see in Vladivostok.  We walked out on a spit into the harbor to the light house called Egersheld with great views of the city (built around an amazingly large and protected harbor); we climbed up to a very high point overlooking the city (and especially the large industrial port); we saw some old parts of the city from prerevolution days; especially the Millionka quarter, where the Chinese once had a large a flourishing community before the revolution; to the terminus of the Trans Siberian Railroad which is a building from Tsarist days (quite a wonderful building), to another viewpoint called Eagle’s Nest Mount where we saw the new Golden bridge built a joint Russian – French endeavor across the Golden Horn Bay, and then we crossed the other bridge to Russky Island. This island used to be off limits as it was a military base, but now it is open, and they built the new campus of the Far Eastern Federal University.  But most interesting there were the military fortifications which from the 19th center protected Vladivostok with a battery cannons of varying dimensions.  Interesting tour with lunch at a local restaurant with terrible service.   That was the only negative part of this very nice tour of the city.  The city itself is called the San Francisco of Russia.   However, apart from the new Golden Bridge, the similarity is mainly that the bay area is similar.  It is a very nice city but not as beautiful as SF.   It is more industrial, bigger container ships, military ships, and submarines.  We returned to our hotel, had another meal at Ogonyok…not quite as good but certainly better than most (Rabbit in a mushroom sauce, fish soup, and a set of very nice patés.  In that order!)  Our waitress was clueless and brought all at the same time even though we thought she understood the order.  She was spacey and apologetic at the same time; and her English was minimal even though this is a restaurant where many foreigners go.

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