The beginning of the end of WWII
11.05.2007 -17 °C
Only two Hotels in town and they both seem to have only luxury rooms available (for foreigners???) => The bottomline = 2 nights here will cost the same as 5 nights in a hostel in Moscow and 6 nights in st-Petersburg.
At least the hotel was at the top of the bluff that overlooks the Volga river.
On the bright side I really needed a nice break! Not sharing rooms and having a nice long hot bath is a real treat. I felt an incredible sense of peace walking around the parks and down by the river. Stalingrad is the main reason I came to Russia.
Mamev Kurgan is beyond belief... once again the Russians sure know how to build their memorials!
I was able to watch the changing of the guard ceromony inside the Eternal Flame Memorial. The entire process takes 8-10 minutes. Once the new guards are in place, they are given a complete inspection by an officer who seems to need to adjust every single pleat and straighten every wrinkle found on the unform of each soldier. To officer obviosly took great pride in doing this.
The Museum for the defence of Stalingrad (not part of Mamaev Kurgan site) was basically empty and there were not enough people there for them to put on a tour of the panora => The main attraction at the museum...
I went out to several of the "disco tents" found by the river at night. It seems that a Russian/English version of Venus (Bananarama) is the most populat song in Russia right now. Warning, at some point during the evening the porta potties are locked!... and none of the "Disco Tents" seem to have bathrooms. Anyway, 100 R was enough to convince a security guard that I could leave after being caught answering the call of nature...
I was able to hook-up with some Angolans and we spent the night chatting in French => Fun night. Nice change from watching 10 year old boys sitting on a park bench getting drunk at 10:00 on a Saturday morning.
I'll have to change my plans again as there is a big International conference in Saratov. 2 weeks left in Russia but as of now I have no clue where I will be going next. Oh well, I'll figure that our in the morning.
Happiness and Joy