i grew up in a country occupied by russians. i remember seeing russian troops marching through our city. i remember clipping out newspaper articles about russian politics for homework. i never had any desire to travel to russia. it has been twenty years since communism fell and i decided to explore russia and its backcountry. even though it was a trip organized by slovakian outdoor travel agency it was more than untraditional trip. first of all, i voluntarily signed up for it even though i knew we were going to spend days on the bus crossing ukraine and russia. secondly, when me and my friend boarded the bus we found ourselves holding a bottle of vodka and being encouraged to drink. we boarded bus to russian reality. vodka was drunk instead of water for three weeks. i am not surprised they didn't know what liability form is. welcome to russia :-)
russia is an incredible country. regular police, road police or military will stop you every 40kms or so and they will make up any reason why you have to pay a fine.you know it is BS because all they want is a bribe. public washrooms are mostly unusable so you decide to stop along the road and just scoot in the ditch. unfortunatelly, even there you are not first so watch where you step. it is huge country with huge mountains. mt.elbrus, at its respectable altitude of 5646m, is the tallest mountain of europe. one of the seven summits.