Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Hike to Vvedenskaya Sloboda

There really isn't much to do at Innopolis. Like there is one grocery store and that's it. If you want to do something other than work out or hang out on campus you either have you make sure you are able to find a seat on the bus to Kazan, pay an outrageous amount for a taxi which may not even come, or find some other alternative like hiking through nature. On our way to Innopolis from the airport we drove over the Volga River and from the bridge you could see sands and people laying on the beach. Elmira decided at that moment that she wanted to go to the beach. Unfortunately, we didn't know how to get there. Then, Zach told us he knew a way to another beach, we convinced Elmira to go through nature, and then on our day off we headed down to the river.
Can you see the Volga River in the distance?

Within five minutes my feet were already covered in dirt from the pile we had to climb over to get to the grass. The grass we walked through was up to my waist and I was continually covered in burrs. We had to watch our for holes and dead animals. I even experienced krapiva, the Russian name for stinging nettle. I don't think we have nettles in Ohio, if we do then we care more about poison ivy. All Russians know krapiva. It's not as horrific as poison ivy but it definitely leaves your skin with a burning sensation that lasts about 15 minutes. Are you familiar with Indian Rug Burns? When you twists the skin on someones arm to make it burn? Surely you did it to someone as a child. Well, in Russia they don't call it Indian rug burns they call it krapiva.
Zach had walked the path before so he kept pointing out landmarks he remembered last year when him and a group of guys decided to walk to the river after a fire drill. We came upon a dried up stream that he said had water in it last year. This summer has been HOT! Both in Kazan and Ufa it's been in the upper 80s to 90s, and it'll rain once every 2 weeks. I'd rather take this heat over Cleveland's though because there is a lot less humidity. My hair and humidity don't get along.

After the river we continued walking and eventually made it to a path made by car wheels. The path led us to a little village where we saw some chickens and you could even see Innopolis in the distance. We weren't exactly sure where to go from there so Elmira stopped to ask a boy directions to the river. He told us where to go, so naturally we took the complete opposite direction because Zach didn't want to walk on the asphalt.

We eventually made it to the road and took the road the rest of the way. In case you plan on walking on the road in Russia (which I don't recommend) you need to walk on the side of the road as the oncoming traffic. It's Russian law, just so you know. We met a goat along the way and I took way too many pictures of it because it was so cute and friendly. We stopped in a little store where we got some ice cream to give us energy and cool us down. Right before we got to the beach we walked past a natural spring where you could fill up your water bottles for free. I wish I had taken pictures of the building because it was pretty neat. It reminded me of this spring my mom used to take us to to fill up jugs of water for our water cooler until chemicals were found in the water and the stopped people from doing that.

Does that island in the picture below look familiar? Yep, that is Sviyazhsk Isand. It's pretty cool that the island is so close. There is also a ship near the island digging up sand from the river and it sounds like something out of Jurassic Park. I would not have been surprised if I saw a Tyrannosaurus Rex break out of the ship. When we settled down Elmira lay out in the sun while Zach and I stayed in the shade to relax. Elmira didn't understand why we walked all that way to act like we wanted to go back but we said the adventure was the best part! I enjoyed watching all the children swimming and reading my book. I didn't want to go in the water though because it seemed kind of dangerous to me, but I spent a lot of time at Lake Erie and I don't think it can get much worse than that.

We wanted to hitch hike back since we were all tired and hangry but our attempts to do so were unsuccessful. Eventually a taxi driver drove past us and Elmira flagged him down. He was kind of a jerk overcharging us when we were actually doing him a favor, but Elmira talked him down 50 rubles. The ride was still overpriced but split three ways it was definitely worth it. There is a way to the river that is much easier, but I'm kind of glad we took the path less traveled because I haven't experienced much Russian nature since being here almost a year! Has there been a time where you took the path less traveled either physically or metaphorically? How was it?


  1. Beautiful, glad you guys hiked! Ah Washington definitely has nettles

    1. Really? I guess Ohio probably has it too but I don't spend too much time in the woods :)

  2. Sounds like fun! Those random road-less-traveled adventures are the best!

  3. Love these photos! This part of Russia might be the equivalent to Saskatchewan/Manitoba in Canada in terms of a lack of things to see or do. Guessing for you it would be the equivalent of Ohio/Indiana?

    As for the "road less travelled," my fondest memory would be hiking an hour with my best friend to a Mayan village in Southern Belize. When we arrived in the village, it had been almost 7 months since these indigenous peoples had seen a foreign tourist. We stayed the night in their village and made quite the experience out of it:

    1. Well, this area is really close to Kazan and there is a lot of stuff to do there. It's not like Siberia which I would say more relate to Saskatchewan.

      I'm going to read that post now!


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