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"Viva la Perestroika !" Vladivostok by jorgejuansanchez

Vladivostok Travel Guide: 232 reviews and 536 photos

The first time that I crossed Primorsly Krai was in 1990, during my second around the world journey, which lasted exactly one year. In those times of the Soviet Union you needed a special permit to get to Vladivostok, by then a secret town close to the foreigners and even to the Russians without special permit, called propusk.
I was coming by train from Moscow and reaching Khabarovsk there was a control fir the passengers going beyond, to Primorsky Krai.
Thanks to my knowledge of the Russian language I could tell the border agent (it was a lady) that in Vladivostok
Those were the times of the Perestroika, previous to the Soviet Union disintegration, and there was chaos everywhere; the rubble changed its value from hour to hour and the laws changed from one day to the other, so the agent did not know what to do with me. I had my ticket in my hand, bought in Moscow, showing Vladivostok as final destination, and I insisted that in Moscow they allowed me to go to that city, which is why they sold me the ticket, because we were in Perestroika times.
Finally the lady, hesitant and confused, allowed me to go further, and once the train run I cried in Spanish:
- Viva la Perestroika!
I reached Vladivostok early in the morning the next day and went to the port. Local people compare Vladivostok with San Francisco (California) because of the hills around the town.
When the night fell I did not dare to register in a hotel because I feared problems for my lack of permit to that forbidden city. Instead, I slept in the maritime station, on the floor, together with hundreds of Vietnamese waiting for their ship to Haiphong, in Vietnam.
During three days that I waited for my boat to Yokohama I visited that military city and its submarines.
Finally, the third day, I went by train to Nahodka and boarded my boat to Yokohama, in Japan.
(The second time that I visited Primorsky Krai was in 1997. I crossed from Harbin, in Manchuria, to Ussuriysk, in Primorsky Kray, and one day later I travelled by train to Khabarovsk, and back to Spain overland, stopping in all the oblast on my way, using trains and buses).

  • Last visit to Vladivostok: Sep 1990
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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