Day 12: Vladivostok, Russia

Vostok (восток) means east in Russian, and Vladivostok is about as far east as you can go in Russia. But for all its Asian influence– authentic Chinese food (the first I’d had in months), Korean writing on signs, Mandarin frequently spoken on the streets– it felt more European than any other Russian city I’d visited on the Trans-Siberian. I’d heard it compared to San Francisco, and now I can honestly add, with good reason.

Bridge to Russky Island, soon-to-be-completed and soon-to-become the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world

The city itself is unexpectedly lovely. Because of Vladivostok’s distant location, many of the original, pre-Revolutionary buildings have survived the havoc of the Russian Revolution and WWII and remain standing to this day. It’s hillside coastal location also makes for some pleasant, albeit uphill, strolls and beautiful views.

Vladivostok funicular– the only funicular system in the Far East, another record for the city

It’s a city that I think will only improve in the years to come, especially when people begin realize it’s economic potential–as the trading link between Russia and the countries of Asia– and cultural potential– as a unique and scenic showcase of Russian culture. The city is set to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference in September of this year. I have to say, it was a well-chosen location.

Stores and cafes along the main street, Aleutskaya

I never thought Russian oceans could be so blue. Here’s to pleasant surprises.

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