Russia : Kamchatka : #8 Mutnovsky to Petropavlovsk

After a fascinating morning finding wildflowers on the hills around our campsite, it was time to leave Mutnovsky Plateau.   It was quite warm by now, maybe 12-15°C, so the tents were well and truly dry and ready to be shoved into their bags with their poles and pegs.  We weren’t going to need them for a day or two as we were going back to Petropavlovsk to stay at Hotel Geyser again; the same hotel we were in on the first night.

Two important items we had to keep with us in our day packs on the bus; our swimmers and towels.  The plan was to stop at one of the thermal pools en route to PK.  Oh!  Just the thought of hot water to shower and bathe in was so very tantalising after days of using nothing but stream water that had been snow or ice just the day before!

P1110575  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110575 © DY of jtdytravels

We retraced our route back along the same road to PK .  Again we had a rest stop at a little roadside supermarket where I bought some nibbles and a couple of bottles of Russian beer.  More labels for my son Peter – and beer for me.

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P1110576  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110576 © DY of jtdytravels

A derelict building with small stalls set up in front….

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Our next stop was at that much anticipated place, a thermal pool complex.  Our excitement was short lived. These pools were under refurbishment.  Our hopes began to sink.  They sank still further at the next place.  There wasn’t even anybody there to tell us they were closed.  This was shaping up to be a calamity.  However, all’s well that ends well !  An up-market establishment was found that was very much open.  In we went, had a shower and then into one of two pools, a large rather warm one and a smaller even hotter one.  Thankfully, there was not one cold plunge pool.

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P1110577  ©  DY  of jtdytravels

P1110577 © DY of jtdytravels

While we were enjoying ourselves, our cook Galena prepared lunch for us on the side of the car-park.

And while others were enjoying the last of their lunch, I explored around the car-park.

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P1110605  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110605 © DY of jtdytravels

A pretty little purple flowered ‘weed’ growing beside the car-park in disturbed soil.

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P1110579  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110579 © DY of jtdytravels

Senecio cannabifolius    Hemp-leaved Ragwort

Daisies like these can be found right across the Far East and on the Aleutian Islands.

Common they may be, but they always add a bright dash of sunshine yellow to the scene.

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P1110582  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110582 © DY of jtdytravels

Some flies are important pollinators.

Have you ever looked closely at those fine, gauzy wings and lustrous sheen on the body?

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P1110614  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110614 © DY of jtdytravels

Fed and watered again, we set off on the last stage of our run into Petropavlovsk where we arrived into the hustle and bustle of city life and clogged roads a bit before four.  What a contrast to the peace of Mutnovsky Valley!

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P1110627  ©  Dy  of  jtdytravels

P1110627 © DY of jtdytravels

After washing very dirty and smokey clothes and another quick shower, most of the group went out to explore.  The building in the background shows buttressing against earthquake damage.

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P1110628  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110628 © DY of jtdytravels

Small fruit and vegetable shop

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P1110625  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110625 © DY of jtdytravels

Although there were no Internet connections available, ‘Apple’ products were available.

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P1110635  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110635 © DY of jtdytravels

‘Attractive’ graffiti?

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P1110636  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110636 © DY of jtdytravels

Even the side streets that ran onto the main road were rather uninspiring with their unattractive graffiti.

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P1110660  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110660 © DY of jtdytravels

It was fascinating to see that the goods on sale were very much the same as at home.

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P1110658  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110658 © DY of jtdytravels

The deli section made one’s mouth water

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P1110656  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110656 © DY of jtdytravels

This lady had a full set of silvery amalgam fillings – top and bottom – but would not smile a second time!

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P1110651  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110651 © DY of jtdytravels

The fresh fruit and vegetables were of good quality.

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P1110643  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110643 © DY of jtdytravels

Everything you could want was available…

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P1110647  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110647 © DY of jtdytravels

… even flat peaches.

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P1110665  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110665 © DY of jtdytravels

Crabs were for sale at absolutely crazy prices.  Jennie would have loved these.

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P1110667  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110667 © DY of jtdytravels

There were lots of different smoked fish to be seen and fresh roe and salmon of many different types.   We thought the price was per kilo but it turned out to be for the whole huge fish.  We would pay well over AUD100 for a fish of a size that the locals here pay the equivalent of AUD 3 to 4!

There are six different types of salmon to be found in Kamchatkan waters.  The most remarkable one that I saw was the red salmon.   I thought it must have been dyed or changed colour when smoked but the bright, intense red colouring was natural.  To be this colour the fish must be caught at sea before it heads up river to spawn.  Once these fish get into fresh water they loose their incredible colour and the flavour also changes.

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P1110672  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110672 © DY of jtdytravels

This reptile was in a large aquarium – poor thing.

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P1110630  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110630 © DY of jtdytravels

Busy street with buses and cars aplenty; haphazard parking!

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P1110612  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1110612 © DY of jtdytravels

On arrival back at the hotel, this sight greeted us!

No caption necessary!

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Dinner was at our hotel Geyser.  The simple affair started off with a salad that contained broccolini and shredded carrot – rather salty but probably good for us after all the sweat and toil of the last couple of days climbing volcanoes!  This was followed by a hamburger-type patty with an egg and melted cheese on top.  Beside this tasty morsel was a splash of creamy mashed potato.  Very simple food, but satisfying.

Then came a rather interesting request.  We were asked to fill our shower recesses with water as ALL the water in the city of 180,000 people (2010 census, 269,000 in 1989) was to be turned off for three days over the weekend.  The water in the shower recess was to be the only water hotel guests would have to wash with and to use to flush the toilet.  I wasn’t half pleased we were to leave the next morning for the next stage of our adventure.  This possibly explains why we passed so many vehicles heading out of town as we headed back in.

The story goes that this happens at this time of the year, every year.  The reason.  The system has to be ‘prepared’ for winter, whatever that means.  Can you imagine the kerfuffle if this happened on a regular basis at home.

Not withstanding all this, I treated myself to a really good shower just before the water was to go off at 22h00.  Then, after that luxury, I fell into my cosy, flat and warm bed. YES!   Sleep came quickly, deep and long – and much needed.

More anon

David

All Photography Copyright ©  David Young of jtdytravels

Many of our other travellers tales and photos are on:

www.jtdytravels.com

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