On the third day we took a detour to go down to the border city (with China) of Blagoveshchensk (486 km). We expected great vista’s on the river the road followed but they were not visible from the road. It was however a pleasant drive over large sand hills covered with pine trees. It reminded me of some of the roads in Europe. In the city we walked along the lovely new riverside promenade. A large section is still under construction but what was ready was well used. You could see across to the Chinese side and noticed that the waterfront was less developed. There were however several high-rise buildings so there must be a large city there too. The town has several classic Tsarists building with nice painted facades and large gardens (= now parks). Actually the city is an oasis of culture/shops/life after the low inhabited countryside we had drive through till then. In fact from there till Birobidzhan (447 km) there was a lot more agriculture, mining and hence villages and people.

We took a break from cooking by stopping for dinner at a Chinese restaurant in town. Our expectation was high as we are just across the river from the Chinese side. But reality was a different matter. The food was not great. In fact it was bland. A very disappointing experience.