West and Jeff paddled into Novgorod, Russia today. They were met by Anton, a firefighter and Olga, works at Intel and their kids. They graciously hosted the boats at their house for safekeeping while Jeff and West spend the night in a comfy bed at a hotel. Once Olga took the kids home to get them settled, Anton took the boys to get a bite to eat...at McDonalds! Despite every effort by Anton to keep them away from McDonalds, the boys were adament about wanting to eat there. They explained this is not anywhere they would visit in the U.S. but it's everything they wanted at that particular moment. In fact, they ate 3 hamburgers, a large french fry and a large drink...each. They would still be eating now if Anton hadn't prompted them to get on their way. West said it was very clean and the staff very friendly.
The terrain in this part of Russia is nice, gently rolling hills with green birch and pine forests. Occasionally, they'll see the scenery flatten out but the city of Novgorod is built up on a rolling hill. Novgorod is quite large with over a million people. Up until 1990 it was known as Gorky, named after the writer, Maxim Gorky, who was born there. According to Google," Nizhny Novgorod is a very urban city. The vast majority of people live in 5-9 story apartment buildings and get around by public transportation, which includes a huge network of buses, trolleys, trams and metro. Most people have a private phone line and those who have computers typically have dial-up access to the Internet."
After a good night's sleep, the team will restock a few items and will try to get back on the river around NOON.