What brings me to think about Russia? Becoming older (wiser?) with time, I remembered those very few times when my father talked to me about his three brothers who have been killed during world war II. Two of them died in Russia – Xaver nearby Nowgorod and Martin close to Wolgograd, at that time named Stalingrad. Some 15 years ago, I wanted my father to come with me to Wolgograd and see the place were his brother has been buried at the military cemetery close to Wolgograd, called Rossoschka. Well, this didn´t worked out this time for some reasons – I think my father was very scared about being faced with his dead brother, he had seen last time when he was 15 years old!
After my father´s death almost three years ago, I decided to travel to Russia by myself! This time, my youngest son Jakob (almost 7), accompanied me! We organised Visa, Insurances and all that stuff you still need for Russia and packed our trusty Mercedes Benz Sprinter with food and gear. This journey should last about 10-14 days and a one way distance from about 3000 km. Driving through Austria and Hungary was cool but no-
thing to write home about. There have been very few sights for photographing, because we drove ahead to our main goal. After sleeping the first night some 50 km east of Budapest, we went on our way further to the Ukrainian border. And there the dilemma began! It took us almost 3 h to cross the hungarian/ukrainian border over the Tisza River! Not understanding a word what these customs officers are talking about. Jakob was brave waiting in the car, while I dealed with the customs some 100 mtr. away from our van, where Jakob couldn´t see me! The whole brigde over the Tisza river in direction to Hungary/Europe was full with Sprinter´s like mine, on their way to buy a lot more of them in western Europe. Finally, we did the customs and went our way on into Ukrainia. But we haven´t been prepared, what would await us there! End Part I !