Our host for the 4 days in Vlad was Sergei from Explore Primorye, along with bird guides (ornithologists) Tatiana and Sergei (yes, a popular name). We had an excellent time birding and seeing the sights. If you ever find yourself in Vladivostok and in need of a guide, consider Explore Primorye - you won't be disappointed.
|A lighthouse at dusk with Russky Island beyond|
|The monument to Cyril and Methodius, brothers who created the Cyrillic alphabet.|
|A nightscape of Vladivostok|
|Birding with ornithologist Tatiana (center) and Sergei (Explore Primorye, far left)|
|The road back at the end of the day involved fording a river.|
|A beautiful convent|
A real highlight of the visit was our group dinner on the last evening at an authentic Georgian restaurant. The food was amazing and the atmosphere fun. Stan and Racine, from our group, had their anniversary that night, which was tipped to the wait staff. Then ensuing festivities of special headwear, singing, and a VERY large horn filled with wine (that was completely consumed) made for a grand occasion. What a hoot.
|Erin learns how to devour her bread and cheese monstrosity while Kay films|
|Stan and Racine party hearty|
I didn't do a lot of photography as we birded Vlad, but manage a few.
|Oriental Reed Warbler|
Next we were off to Petropovlovsk-Kamchatskiy on the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula for a couple of days of birding and sight seeing prior to our expedition voyage. The birding was fun, even with the drizzly conditions. An afternoon of walking the waterfront area visiting the many statues was enjoyable.
|One of many large volcanoes on the Kamchatka Peninsula|
|Lenin, every town has a statue.|
|Petropavlovsk (St. Peter and St. Paul)|
After our walking tour of PK, we were hungry. We had smelled a fine aroma from a restaurant so we headed back. English speaking tourists don't seem to visit often and the menu was in Cyrillic. Asking the owner if she spoke English brought a response of nyet. What to do?
We took photos of the items on the side of the building and went back inside, pointed and held up fingers of how many we would like. Her response was chicken, pork, or moo? We thought moo for beef was brilliant. It was a fine meal. After dinner they called us a taxi to take us back to our hotel. Very nice.
|Birding the boreal forest|