My visit to Kazan for work semeed like a mini holiday...

Kazan Travel Blog

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me being as tourist

Arriving in Russia for the first time was little more difficult than I am used to, straight away I could see language was gonig to be more of a challenge than I expected, but this would just turn out to make it even more of an interesting trip.
Having prety much gone there from spending the whole summer between Athens and Cyprus I never expected that it would be so cool in the early autumn, especially the evenings - should have brought warmer clothes.!
Being in Kazan, to deliver a project to a major bank in the region I had already met a friend from a partner company when I stopped in Moscow for my connecting flight to Kazan but having arrived about 10pm that Tuesday evening in Kazan we went straight out to see what the town was about, catching a few bars and some non-airline food for the first time that day !!!
Ordering food was to be one of the many insteresting experiences for us as there were never english menu's so it was usually a case of point at the menu and hope for the best.

a nice path
On several occasions the waiting staff in restraurants resorted to animal noises to try help us out, both embarassing and very funny at times. Tartar cuisine was really great and so filling.
This one evening we went to a really nice restaurant for dinner and as our coffee's arrived so did a belly dancer to entertain us, this clearly wasn't part of the normal daily routine as far as we could see, as the staff explained how it had been arranged especially for us - a very plesant and surprising end to our long evenings dining.
Of course most evenings were followed by sampling a different bar or club in the city, some great, some, lets just say a little bizarre, but always a good experience.
Working was a little tricky also as there was not much english so almost everything had to be translated for us, .
In the Kremlin
..so it was a really nice suprise when a truely wonderful girl at the bank (Elmira) introduced herself to us and gave us some great tips on places to visit and things to do while in Kazan, Elmira even organised a guided tour of the city for us for that Saturday, taking in the Kremlin as well as some of the other interesting sites around town - Thank you so much Elmira..:)

Kazan city is a surprisingly lovely place, not sure why I'm surprised but... It stood out to us how clean the city was and had some really beautiful and impressive buildings, architecture and a massive water fountain in the centre of town which was illuminated at night to music.
Coming from a small town in Ireland the size of the streets really suprised me and every day I'm sure we ended up walking far further than we realised, so great for some light exercise !!
Talking of getting around, the single most amusing memory for me will be the taxi rides, regular taxi's just don't seem to exist here, it's just a case of sticking your arm out and waving down any passing car.
Paval, Mircea and Me..!
We ended up in all sorts of places to begin with, but we quicly learned to show the picture of our hotel on the room key !!! Jumping in a random car with blacked out windows at 2 in the morning and nobody understanding a word you say certainly was a little unnerving at times - I'm sure on occasion people were saying "NO" to us but we just piled in anyway, there was always a smile at the end of every trip.
Always we found the people to be incredibly nice trying their best to help us and I'm sure on many occasions we brought a little humour and entertainment to their day also..

On my last evening there, the project manager brought me out with some of his friends for dinner and then on to a club where all I can remenber is this big fat guy in red shoes (maybe a local celebrity) was on stage singing and entertaining the crowds, what a night - all I can say is I now beleive the cliche about Russia and Vodka, 4 people, 4 bottles, 1 night - how I made my 09:30 flight to Moscow the next morning I will never know - actually that's a lie, I made it with the help of the hotel staff entering my room to wake me up at 08:00 cause I had slept through my alarms and wake up calls - I've been drinking cranberry juice ever since !!!! Thanks Munzer for the night out, I think.

The Tartar observes the Russian having a little rest we were told..!
.????  

My trip to Kazan, the food, the bars, the clubs, everywhere we went and most of all the people were just fantastic !!!!
I'm so looking forward to getting back to Kazan at the end of the month for the rest of the project.     

More to follow I'm sure......

AlekseyN says:
Thanks for sharing it, Neil! The blog is great, the photos are great! It was particular interesting for me to read cause, you know, I live not so far from that. I am surprised! I never thought that Kazan would be such a nice city. I'm impressed by the copious amount of fountains. Another thing that impressed me is lots of moslem mosques neighboring with orthodox churches. Yeah... you won't be surprised to anything in Samara now :o)
Posted on: Nov 06, 2007
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me being as tourist
me being as tourist
a nice path
a nice path
In the Kremlin
In the Kremlin
Paval, Mircea and Me..!
Paval, Mircea and Me..!
The Tartar observes the Russian ha…
The Tartar observes the Russian h…
in the grounds of the Kremlin
in the grounds of the Kremlin
times were tough
times were tough
Church
Church
The hotel was due for a refurb...!
The hotel was due for a refurb...!
Kids play in the main street
Kids play in the main street
not sure what this was but loked c…
not sure what this was but loked …
our guide gives us the low down
our guide gives us the low down
in one of the wonderful churchs
in one of the wonderful churchs
Smile Mircea - which end..?
Smile Mircea - which end..?
Yep, we really found those seats a…
Yep, we really found those seats …
Downtown
Downtown
Big water fountain - looked great …
Big water fountain - looked great…
the Kremlin
the Kremlin
Kremlin
Kremlin
the Mosque
the Mosque
..another lucky guy
..another lucky guy
its the fountain
its the fountain
whos this guy..??
who's this guy..??
..and who is she..?
..and who is she..?
you can walk for miles
you can walk for miles
...the driver
...the driver
....the speed
....the speed
...the car - what a releif to get …
...the car - what a releif to get…
another local we had great fun with
another local we had great fun with
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photo by: alexchan