In theory, walking to the Zhemchuzina hotel from the ferry terminal was a viable option; not so in practice. I hadn’t factored in the Vladik hills, so a taxi it was and an opportunity to use a word of Russian. ‘Spaseeba’ brought an instant reply of ‘pazhalsta’ and a smile. The hotel was perfect for the price, refurbished and sparkling clean.
My first job was to get a Russian SIM card. I went into a nearby Samsung shop thinking they could direct me to a phone provider. I left one hour later with a SIM installed and a demonstration of how to create a wifi hotspot for my iPad – language is no barrier where there’s a will. My next phone will be a Samsung.
Buoyed with success I made a quick loop of the pl Bortsov Revolutsil (a monument to commemorate fighters for Soviet power in the Far East) and on to Sportivnaya Harbour, by which time the sun was on its way down. After sampling chanakhi (lamb, aubergine and tomato stew) at a Georgian restaurant, it was time to turn in.
I woke up to a clear blue sky and sunshine – just the day for visiting the seaside. The number 15 bus took me over the bridges to Russky Island, giving a view of the Eastern Dream waiting for its return journey to Donghae on Wednesday. The bridges are impressive, evidently inspired by Istanbul, with one of them being the longest cable-stayed bridge in the works at 3.1 kilometres.
I took my cue from the other passengers as they got off the bus and followed a track down to a beach. A paddle in the Sea of Japan was a must and then a stroll along the coast.
Returning to Vladivostok I made my way to an old artillery battery which gave ago on view over the city to the bridge and Sportivnya Harbour. A sign for pelmeni made me think it was time for some traditional Russian food. Herring under a fur coat, pelmeni and sour cream with morse (juice made from cranberries) made for a delicious end to the day.