Started off with some tours - Russian house and Levitan's museum. Nope. I didn't go to either one... sorry. Thor and I took off and up this hellacious hill. Lots of climbing today and a decent long mile day it was. Fair amount of traffic on the highway. Thor and I stopped for a rest on the road (see pic) and took off when a bee was attacking me. So, now it's not just the flies and the mosquitoes... Then, we missed a turn and coming around caught up to Gilles. Brilliant blue skies and some tailwind though, to help with the hills of today. Who couldn't ask for more?! Beautiful countryside too. We were way ahead of the SAG, so we pulled over and found a small village and market - it's always fun to do this! Fed this dog that was begging - obviously had pups and was very skinny. She was sweet as anything - wished I could take her home with me. I liked the intelligence in her cute doggie eyes. As we went back, I heard my name from the side and there, at the gas station was Cory! We sent him up the road to the market and took off for the home stretch.
Got to the fabulous resort at Malinki, just outside of Ivanova (big town, university). It is gorgeous. They have this huge, football sized pool that is peat-moss lined. Like everything else in Russia, although you are a guest, you pay to get into the pool area. Well, since we were sweaty, ahead of everyone else, I paid for us to jump in. I dove. Nice.... The young men who took our money were from Nepal - Katmandu - studying medicine at Ivanova - one was very happy to chat for some time. Just about to start his 6th and final year at med school. He said it was not uncommon for the Russian docs in Katmandu to come to work drunk. So, here's my advice - don't get sick. Ok. We got that outta the way. This young man also offered to me that Russians were not friendly (clearly, the Nepalese ARE! - he was delightful). So, I repeated this story when were in the bar with Thor and Gilles (I know, unbelievable that we were in the bar) and the young waitress started laughing! I asked if she was a student and where was she from - yep, Ivanova! So, great sense of humor... We had a great time at this place and I lovely dinner. Longest day is tomorrow...