16-Aug-2009 –Continued from 41N 38E.
This was the first visit to 45N 40E. The confluence lies in the Federal Republic of Adygeya which is well renowned for producing grain, sunflowers, and tobacco. The aerial image showed that the confluence was located at a huge crop field between the two villages Zarevo and Shkol'noye. We debated the best approach and decided taking the bus from Krasnodar city to Belorechensk town and then a marshrutka [shuttle bus, rus] to Zarevo. From Zarevo it seemed to be only a short walk to the CP.
We took an overnight train to Krasnodar. Our train conductor woke us early, so there was plenty of time for having tea and pirozhchkis [patties, rus] on the train. At Krasnodar we changed to the somewhat decrepit coach to Belorechensk. When we climbed out of the ancient death trap at the bus terminal, we immediately were surrounded by cabdrivers who emphatically offered us their services. We asked for the minibus to Zarevo and it turned out that we missed it and the next one was scheduled in the evening. So, what was to be done? We hang around at the bus terminal, drank some Russian lemonade, and decided to take a taxi to Zarevo. We hopped in one of them, and were greeted by a yellow smile and a vastly inflated price quote. We haggled a little, and reached a agreeable result after a few minutes.
We ditched our original plan going to Zarevo and tried to get as close as possible to the CP instead. The taxi driver couldn't read our map nor the printout of satellite images we'd brought with us (the labelling in Latin characters confused him).
We dashed through the Adygei cultural landscape with huge crop fields surrounded by shelter belts. Along the road we spotted vegetable and fruit stalls. Several times we took wrong turn-offs and small streets ended in the bushes or in the middle of nowhere. But finally we picked the right side street towards Giaginskaya and quickly approached the CP. In a distance of 400 m we stopped the taxi and hopped off. We stood in front of an enormous crop field which was already harvested. Interestingly we saw a lot of hemp fields in the surrounding area. We took a dirt track along the shelter belt which brought us close to the CP. We walked the last 30 meters across the field. We took the required photos and headed back.
Back in the taxi and on our way to Belorechensk we measured the edge length of one of the neighbouring crop fields with the GPS: it was 4.2 kilometres, which would be enormous in terms of western European standards. Back in Belorechensk we had to figure out how to get away. We solved the problem with a seemingly endless elektrichka [local electric train, rus] ride back to the coast.
Continued at 43N 41E.