Last night we arrived in Kazan. For once we decided to take a day train which took 8 hours from Nizhny Novgorod to Kazan, but it was comfortable (this time we had 2nd class seats, whereas for sleeping we prefer 3rd class). After some logistic challenges (we arrived just before midnight without hotel reservation, one hotel was full, the other had only a really expensive room, the third was finally ok) we got a nice enough hotel room with a functioning bathroom (hot water, enough pressure in the shower, toilet paper, 3 towels per person) and had a relaxing sleep. Breakfast was a buffet with russian pastries, pasta, salads and some strange things that I don’t know the name of.
The weather is nice (warm but just not too hot), Kazan is a pleasant city with several mosques, which makes for a welcome change after all the orthodox churches. 50% of people here are Tartar and everything is written in Russian and Tartar. Tartar is mainly written in cyrillic, although, according to LP, they would like to use the latin alphabet (which was refused by Moscow…). The city center is quite nice, although more and more western luxury shops are opening everywhere and you almost feel like in any european city (except for the almost fallen down building appearing somewhere…).
So, we will stay for another night in our nice hotel room (first time we are in a hotel in Russia, we enjoy it!), relax in this city, use some of the several Internet places (to satisfy our readers), before going on a surely long train trip. We have to be in Ulan Ude in 12 days at the latest… not much time for such a long way.