What a person from western Europe might think about Ufa, a city of two hours flight east of Moscow. It is a few hundred kilometres from the Ural mountains’ southern end.
The City centre is, actually, beautiful, with many lovely parks, also on the hills (at the centre) with nice views. Well, they said much was done before the BRICS Conference last summer.
Parks were even poetically beautiful. The city is also clean, even the toilets in the restaurants were clean. Of course, I visited only four restaurants for lunches and dinners at the city centre.
It also surprised me that the food was good (and nice portions), much better than what is usually met in many places in Russian cities and countryside.
It also so happened that the weather was, surprisingly this time of the year, really warm, mostly more than +20 or something. Even evenings were warm.
Autumn leaves on the street, yet a day like in hot summer weather …
People were really nice (also in a very literal meaning of the word) and they were friendly.
(In all, according to my experience people are frendlier in Russia than most westeners think. I noticed from the western media that in one rating covering many countries Moscow people was rated no 1 as a the most impolite and unfriendly city people. I don’t believe it. I think, this time politics has a say in this poll. However, one should not judge individuals because of their government or president.)
Hotel Atola was very comfortable, with nice and friendly reseption staff. Beautiful rooms. The breakfast was hmm quite plain, typical Russian hotel breakfast without niceties, not much fresh, salads or anything of the kind. Yet pirogis (quiches, pies, etc.) and Cappuccino were good.
In the evening this hotel restaurant turned out to be an excellent dinner restaurant, also with good service. I had two starters (green salad, fresh, good taste + aubergine rolls stuffed with something I can’t describe – but excellent, really good!), main course (whole quail, roasted, good + tasty (!) potato wedges) and a dessert (chokolate fondue) with tea (Japanese sencha with a taste of “strawberry with cream”, as it was put in the menu slightly confusingly). The red wine from Armenia, Arame (grand reserva, 2009), was a good wine, close to many full-bodied reds known and liked in western Europe. It was new for me, and I was surprised of it’s slightly mystical softness. A beauty, actually.
I really enjoyed my stay in Ufa.
Possibly I should try the next challenge: Ufa in the winter frost. I was told that it can easily be more than -40 (Celsius), even -50 and the record is -55 of something …