TRAVEL UPDATE #1: GREETINGS FROM ULAN-UDE

Friday June 7 already feels like it was a month ago, but that was the day that I began travelling from Toronto to Moscow. I arrived in Moscow late Saturday night and was met by two dear friends after I disembarked from the train from the airport.

I had all of one day to get reacquainted with the city I used to live in.  In many ways, I didn’t recognize it at all. And much of the feelings were overwhelming and difficult to process in so short a period of time while also being jet lagged, tired, cranky and a little paranoid. In some ways Moscow was unrecognizable. In other ways it very much reinforced the perception I’ve always had of it.

Our train left Moscow last Monday and arrived in Ulan-Ude late Thursday night on Moscow time. Local time was already early Friday morning. We tried the onboard restaurant but found the food largely inedible. For example, here is a mystery beef dish that we were served.

I can’t believe that already a week has passed by since we first arrived in Ulan-Ude. We made preparations for our journey to Mongolia next Friday.

ULAN-UDE HIGHLIGHTS RESTAURANT LIFE

Because we don’t have a kitchen, I’ve had the pleasure of eating out in at least one restaurant everyday.  And one restaurant in particular: Travelers Coffee, which is a chain of cafe/bistro type restaurants across Russia. The branding is modern, the choices are modern and the variety of coffee is the most I’ve seen ever in this country.  I did find a better Americano at Marco Polo but the atmosphere, location and menu choices of Travelers make it hands down a better choice for us.  My favourite meal because of the value for money you get (I’m so American sometimes) is the club sandwich, which for 239 rubles ($7) you get 400 grams of food (almost a pound)–a big sandwich and french fries. And they put a ton of dill on the french fries, I don’t think it adds anything to.

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