We drove a lot on this trip. More then I have ever driven before in my entire life. It soon became the running joke that everyone was experiencing something or another for the first time in their entire lives.
To give you an idea of how arduous a journey it was I stole a map and highlighted the areas we (Lena, Roman and myself) drove this time and all the cities in Russia I have hung out in.
St Petersburg, Moscow, Yaroslavl and Vogograd. Kazantip was next to the black Sea in Vesoyloye (which translates into happiness). It took us a full 24 hours to drive from St. Petersburg to Volgograd and then another 24 hours on the trip from Volgograd to the Ukraine.
I don't think I will ever forget the first time... or any time I have spent in Russia. I don't like to trust the media because I am the kind of person that likes to experience life, itself, instead of being told what to think or how to feel about certain things.
There is always some kind of tragedy going on in that country. I don't think they ever have a moment of civil rest. From the first time I stood outside MGU because of a bomb scare to the explosion going off in Pushkin Square in Moscow 2 days before I arrived...
The Kirsk went down while I was there and the big TV antenna in Moscow was burned down with some suspect foul play as the bodies were found to have been assassinated.
I kept waiting for something really exciting to happen, like maybe I would be kidnapped or held hostage or something equally as thrilling but nothing out of the ordinary happened except for that family from Michigan that I was swimming with in the pool at the Hotel Ukraine. I have to admit that I don't really care for missionaries or Peace Corps volunteers.