July 19, 2006 - A Totally Different World

Saying hello to our Russian friends in the CaucusesThe 18th was a very long and successful day for us.  We are now at our lodge in the Caucuses, a place where I always feel relaxed.  Our hotel in Moscow was one of the 7 gothic style skyscrapers that Stalin completed between 1935 and 1957, very Soviet-style hotel and a big contrast to where we stayed in St. Petersburg.  Of course St. Petersburg and Moscow are two very different cities in Russia.

The flight to Mineralnye Vody was about 2 hours and 20 minutes and we stepped out into a totally different part of Russia, a totally different world.  I warned the group that it might be a little hot but with the clouds it wasn’t too bad.  We cleared the checkposts to leave the airport and took off down the highway.  Berg Adventures always stops at this wonderful local market about half way to our destination.  The ladies there always remember me since I’ve been bringing groups there for years.  A lot of smiles and laughter while we bought some local bread and mineral water.

Buying some goodies for the driveAfter we checked into our rooms we met at the jacuzzi for just a brief while before we were served our dinner at 8:30pm.  After which everyone went very soundly to sleep.  This is the first of five nights that we’ll stay at this lodge as we begin to climb in the Caucuses, acclimatize and train before we move up on Elbrus.  We’ll report to you about our jaunts out from here and what life is like in the caucasus Mountains.  It’s great to be down here and underway.

Above: Comet Hale-Bopp over Mt. Elbrus from Pik Terskol, Caucasus, April '97. ©"Observers", AlltheSky.com