Today is one of the longest days during this journey. We plan to travel 686 km. plus there is a border crossing. The border was about 100 kms. from Aktobe.
The Border crossing between Kazakhstan and Russia was time consuming. On the Kazakhstan side, there were two places where the checking is done. First check post, our passports and Car documents were checked. On the second checking post, which was the Immigration Point, our Passports were checked, and immigration seal affixed. Then the car was checked.
The checking at Russian side also was in two stages. At first point, they only checked our passports and car documents. On the second point, which was the main Immigration and Customs check point, first our passports and car documents were checked. Then the car was checked by customs people.
We are also required to have Third Party Insurance for Russia. There was one broker about 30 kms. after the Immigration and it took about half an hour to get the Insurance policy. Totally, we have spent four hours or more in the completing all formalities.
The journey from Immigration check point to Samara was smooth. The roads in Russia are good. They may not be anywhere comparable to roads in China.
There was very less scenery here also. The route on which we were travelling was similar to what was experienced in Kazakhstan. The difference was that there was greenery on Russian side. There were open lands on both sides of the road. Some farming was also being done. Wheat crop was grown.
There was one city on the way, Orenburg. We travelled through the city as the highway passes through the city. It was almost as if we were passing through the streets of the city.
Russia is a very big country. It is trans-continental country in North Asia in east to Eastern Europe in west. It is 1,71,25,200 sq. kms. It is by far margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area. It is ninth most populous country with 146.79 million population.
Samara is now one of the largest industrial cities of Russia. It lies along the Volga river at the confluence of Volga river and Samara River. Volga river is the longest river in Europe with a catchment area of 13 lakhs 50 thousand sq. kilometres. It is also Europe’s largest river in terms of discharge and drainage basin. The river flows through Central Russia and in to the Caspian Sea. It is regarded as the National river of Russia.
We had crossed over from Kazakhstan in one time zone and by the time we reached Samara, we were in another time zone. So, we were in two time zones in one day.
We reached Samara by about 9:15 pm, which was 11:15 pm as per Kazakhstan time. The advantage is that at 10 pm it was daytime since the days are very long.