"The Beach" Samarskaya Oblast' by jorgejuansanchez
Samarskaya Oblast' Travel Guide: 57 reviews and 103 photos
When I left the railway station I looked back and was surprised to see its modernity. Usually the railway stations in Russia are tourist attractions and many of them are very beautifully designed, like Kazan station in Moscow or the one in Novosibirsk, looking like a train. But that was not the case of Samara station, being a contemporary building looking rather like an offices high scraper. I did not like it.
As usual, and because I do not carry tourists “guides” as the tourists do, I never buy any of them, asking for information to the local people instead (I love to hear the voices of the local people when travelling. Besides, a foreign traveler always offers fresh air, and the locals use to help giving you good information about their city). A police man whom I asked for the downtown directed me to a taxi driver because, according to him, it was “too far away”.
It is funny that many people, noticing that you are a foreigner, try to help you by advising you to hire a taxi.
I asked a woman and she gave me the instruction to reach on foot the downtown of Samara, a XIV century city with over one million inhabitants. In fact it was very easy, taking the first street on the left until the Philharmonic building, then left.
I walked and discovered that the downtown was at only half an hour time, through pleasant avenues, giving me the opportunity to get to know better the city and seeing places that in a taxi or bus I would have missed, like the square devoted to the bard Vladimir Vissotski, with the monument of a guitar and one of his poems written in the stones, monument that I discovered by chance during my walk. Furthermore, I carry a small bag weighing only 3 kilos, so it is a part of me, and I never give it for registration in the airplanes, or put it in any locker, as the tourists use to do when they go for a walk with their enormous and ridiculous backpacks.
The downtown was not really special. I saw XIX century Protestants churches that were not destroyed during the Communist times (the Volga region was populated by the Volga Germans), the nice building of the Philharmonic, the Drama Theatre (another pretty building), the Square Kuybyshev, the usual monuments devoted to Lenin with his parents (the family of Lenin moved to Samara in 1899, as a monument by the River Volga indicated), and the rest of sinister personages that imposed the Communism in Russia, plus a very pleasant pedestrian street that led me to the “beach”, or the banks of the River Volga.
That “beach” was nice, with sand, and I saw people swimming in its waters. Along the beach there were many restaurants at good prices (I had lunch there). That very nice beach and the embankment was the best that I saw in Samara during that full day of visit.
Nothing else I visited in Samara, a town that does not have too much to offer to the traveller. I heard that there was a bunker, where Stalin would hide in case of the fall of Moscow by the Germans during WWII, but not being too interested in that sinister and criminal personage, I did not make inquiries to go there (I had enough of communists with my recent visit to the house/museum in Ulyanovsk where Lenin was born).
During most of Soviet Union times Samara was renamed Kuybyshev (another ominous communist, the director of the infamous Stalin “Great Purge” during the years thirties of XX century, period of terror and Government crimes by the thousands, and the confinement of the dissidents in the Gulags) but, after the Perestroika, Samara recuperated its name.
In the night I caught a train to Saratov.
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