What does a Russian country road look like? Something like this:


Yesterday I drove out to a Small Village about 150 km outside of Moscow, to check out a potential dacha spot. After about 100 km on a highway, I reached my turn-off point — a small Town of Petushki (“Cockerels”) —

Coat of Arms of Petushki, Vladimir region, Russia.

Coat of Arms of Petushki, Vladimir region, Russia.

— and called the developer to give him a heads up that I am about to take the country road indicated in my Driving Directions, courtesy of Yandex Maps (a Russian search engine). Also, according to Yandex, that road passed through a picturesque Village with a pretty church, and I wanted to check out both.

Driving directions courtesy of Yandex Maps.

Driving directions courtesy of Yandex Maps.

“No, no, no!” protested Ivan. “You can’t go that way. Bad road!”

“But…the Internet!” I protested right back.

In the end, the common sense had won and I decided to listen to the local, especially considering that I was driving a borrowed car in wet and muddy November conditions.

Road actually taken, in bright yellow.

Road actually taken, in bright yellow.

It took me about 30 minutes to drive less than 15 km on the GOOD road.

The Good road, one of its better stretches.

The Good road, one of its better stretches.

Having met up with Ivan in the Small Village and checked out the local sights (photo mosaic below), I asked him how to get on that road which would bring me to the Village with the church. He took me right to it.

Yup, the "road."

Yup, the “Road.”

What’s that dark spot in the middle? Lets take a closer look.

The Road: up-close.

The Road: up-close.

Oh, that’s just a small ravine, with a creek, and some burnt logs strewn around it.

The ‘beyond’ looked a little more…even? At least the parts that were visible, before the road disappeared into the forest. But it still didn’t look like something you could possibly drive on.

The road: continued.

The Road: continued.

The road: satellite view - the way the Internet told me to drive, and the area up close.

The Road: satellite view — the way the Internet told me to drive, and the area up close.

A curious local approached me while I was standing there with my mouth agape. I inquired about the road and the Village.

“Oh yes, that’s the right way, just about 4 kilometers up ahead.”

“But…how? I mean…the only thing you can ride down this road is a horse?!”

“Oh yes, it’s no problem at all, on a horse!”

So, ladies and gentlemen, apparently Yandex Maps (and Google, too, as it also advised me to take thisΒ  ‘road’ to get from the Small Village to the Village) needs a “horseback” option, alongside “driving,” “walking” and “public transportation.”Β  Sadly I did not have an equine handy, so the pretty church was left unseen. I will come prepared next time.


Between the Golden Autumn and the White Winter: Russian countryside in Grey November.

37 thoughts on “ROADLESS ROAD TRIP

  1. Love those birch trees πŸ™‚
    Countryside looks very much like where I’m from at this time of year. Except for the roads… a “bad” road would be one without asphalt, usually between fields, mainly used by tractors, but cars can still pass, though you might risk a paint chip or two. Anything connecting towns and villages, no matter how small, would still be a “proper” road.

    • Oh yeah, my friend would not have been happy! And Ivan was actually impressed by my off-roadings skills: “wow, you drive really well, you do this a lot?” Made my day πŸ™‚ (I drive twice a year or so…failed my Russian test, renewed my NYC license πŸ™‚

  2. What? You mean you don’t normally bring a horse along with you? Oh, I always keep a pair of ’em in the trunk just in case πŸ™‚

  3. I am with the rest of your commenters, this one is really on you for leaving the house without a horse. Maybe a nice mule could have sat in the passenger seat.

    I am dying to know what that town and church look like so I am sending you my trusted Milo the WunderPom. It will take you 3 months to get there but just think of the stories you will have.

    • I know, I know. I should have taken either Jack or Sev out of the stables but I decides to give them a little break for once.

      PS – Thor2 = AMAYZE! Grinning like an idiot. Ham = delicious. The dancing, prancing TA = fantastic. I want that world to just…absorb me. MORE!

  4. I particularly like the photo of the birch grove. There are also some very good paintings of birch trees as a motive. There are trees that can create special moods. Very well done!

  5. Those are very beautiful pictures of the Russian countryside. Reading your post you must have had a lot of fun on your trip. Birch trees create really atmospheric scenery. It looks great.

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  7. Great story and pictures. I will never complain about the roads in neighbourhood again! I wonder how many others like this one are out there. It’s interesting that it ended up on the google/ yandex maps.

    • Thank you. I think at least in Russia you can blindly pick a spot on a map, drive there, and end up in the same situation. There’s even a saying: “Russia has two great ailments: stupid people, and roads.”

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