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Old 04-09-2012, 03:35 AM   #43
asilindean OP
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Timisoara, Romania
Oddometer: 133
Day 7 - Kerch – Sochi - 430 km

The day before the receptionist at the hotel, who speaks very good English, was kind enough to call for us at the shipping company in Sochi in order to found out when the ferry to Trabzon was schedule to leave. The news was good, the ship was in the port and it did not leave the next day. Maybe Saturday or Sunday. She also told us that is good to be at the ferry to cross in Russia an hour before the starting of the formalities.
We woke up at 4.45 and ride to the ferry. It was a short one 20 min. We arrived there around 6.

The Kassa for tickets is on the left side. You need to have the passports and vehicle documents. The price for 2 tickets plus the bike was 175 Grivna.
Then we wait. After buying tickets you stay in line before the entry in the port. The border guards' then check your ticket and let you in. There you wait for the Wait for the ferry and customs. The ferry left at 7.30 and the crossing took 25 min. On the ferry we received the immigration form which was also in English and not so hard to fill.

You exit the ferry and there are 2 lines: one for all the passengers and one for vehicles. The passengers of the vehicles wait in line with everybody else while only the driver is allowed to stay with the vehicle.
Russian customs: they first check pass, then check registration documents of the bike. Then you must fill in a custom declaration regarding means of transportation, luggage and so on. Only in Russian but with some help from the custom guys I managed to do that.
After that you move to the next line of buildings and there in an office there is a lady who will prepare some documents for you. This is part one of the Temporary Import of Vehicle form. She will makes some papers and prepare some documents on a memory stick. With her and the documents you go to another office where another lady prepares the temporary import document for the bike. This document is given to you with a stamp with a code bar and you are instructed not to lose it. From disembarking the ferry until exiting the customs it took a total of 90 min. Which is a good time I say.
At 9.30 we were riding towards Sochi, destination of the day.

First big city on the route is Novorossiysk. The road is very good 2 then 4 lane road for the first 130 km. Crossing Novorossiysk was a traffic nightmare. We made a stop right after Novorossiysk. It was 40 minutes just to cross the city. After Novorossiysk the road narrows to a 2 lane road with very dense traffic and some road repairs. Nevertheless the road is in good condition. It is the main road to Sochi and the huge construction yard that is there in preparation for the 2014Winter Olympics.

After Tuapse the road get narrower and in the middle there is the white line which everybody advised me not to cross. After yesterday? No way!

The traffic to Sochi was extremely dense. The fact that it was Friday afternoon did not helped either. Loads of cars and trucks. As in endless….

We left Russian customs at 9.30 in the morning and arrived in Sochi at 8 in the evening covering a distance of 430 km. We made only 3 stops on the way. It was a tough ride but somehow fun. I have earned my dinner and beer for that day.
A word about the Russian truck drivers: very, very polite on the 2 lane road, they drive as close to the side of the road in order to let you pass them without crossing the white line splitting the lanes.
Crossing the white line splitting the lanes it is a very serious offense in Russia, and there were endless police teams with state of the art cameras, positioned on the side of the road with the sole intend of catching you crossing that line. They don’t care about speed; you can’t drive very fast in those roads. Surprisingly to me, almost nobody crossed the white line.
Entering Sochi area there is a barrier and a police check point but we weren’t stopped.

We went straight to the port to check the schedule of the ferry to Tranzon. The Kasa was closed, but we learn that it will be a ferry next day, and we can buy tickets next morning.
We went to the Nairi Hotel where we had booked a room in advance. The hotel was very nice, with secure parking behind closed doors, a swimming pool and clean rooms. (2750 Ruble/night – one of the most expensive night of the trip). Also one of the ladies from reception spoke good English.
We had reserved 2 nights in advance not knowing when the ferry will leave. We stayed and paid only one night, nice people. The most expensive dinner of the trip we had there since we were too tired to take a walk and search for another place to eat (1360 Ruble).
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