Lazing in Samara (Самара) and Grazing at 'Y Palycha'(У Палыча) in Russia
If you want to see all the cyrillic words, please change your browser setting to 'cyrillic'. Right-click on empty space on this page and select 'Encoding'. Then, select 'cyrillic (windows)'.
Samara Airlines - Gateway to Samara (Самарa)
I wondered about that space between the cockpit and the entry hatch until I discovered the aircraft's military history. There's where the bombadiers and radio-men used to sit when the seminal TU-16 'Badger' bombers were in service. I was so reassured that mine was the 2nd series A variant, with glass nose and uprated engines, so there!
For many years the Tupolev Tu-134 (700 built) was the standard short haul jet airliner in the USSR and eastern Europe. Today small numbers are in military service as VIP transports. The Tupolev design bureau was responsible for the Soviet Union's first jet powered airliner, the Tu-104 (which was based on the Tu-16 bomber), and the Tu-104's smaller brother the Tu-124. Both of these short range jetliners had a number of performance and technology shortfalls however, and the Tu-134 was developed to address these problems. Initially the Tu-134 was based fairly closely on the Tu-124, and for a time was designated the Tu-124A. However the decision was instead taken to change the aircraft's overall configuration to feature rear fuselage mounted engines and T-tail.
Apart from converted Tu-134s serving in a military VIP role, Russia operates a small number converted as bomber trainers.
(source: International Directory of Military Aircraft 1998-1999)
My tongue-in-cheek and 'in-mouth' comments about the cold Business Class Meal (pictured) in a previous 'Lazing' article, should not dissuade anyone from traveling in one of these aircraft.
The mighty Volga river at Samara. This was not the full width of the river as there is an island behind the white boat. The Volga is 0.6 to 2.0 km wide and is Europe's longest river at 3690 km (2293 miles). Here is a little known custom; Russian towns on one side of the river have male names and those on the other bank have female names. Samara is 'female'.
The Samara Oblast is situated in the middle section of the River Volga. Near the old Zhiguli Mountains the river makes a sharp turn, bending round the Samarskaya Luka natural reserve of the forest-steppe region. The climate is continental, with average annual air temperature of +4 degrees Celsius; average January temperature is -14 degrees and average July temperature is +20 degrees. The main natural treasures are oil and associated gas but also slate coal, silicate lime, brimstone, mineral and radon waters, common salt, building stone and such like.
Samara was called Kuibyshev between 1935 to 1991 and is located 1000 km from the Russian capital. Founded in the year 1586 as a fortress, Samara became the capital of the province in 1851. During the Great Patriotic War (WW-2), the city served as the administrative center of the USSR, where the Soviet Government were evacuated. The main tourist attraction is Stalin's Bunker.
During the Cold War, Samara 'disappeared' from official maps because it was the centre of the aerospace industry and original training centre for cosmonauts. Even today, there is a static display of the famous IL-2M at one of the main road junctions but we drove by at 'Russian-Speed' (almost Warp Factor 1) i.e. so fast that I could not get a photo!
Ilyushin-2 "Shturmovik" series of ground-attack aircraft was one of the most important Soviet combat aircraft of World War II. The IL-2 was well-designed and highly effective at its task, and was produced in great quantity - eventually. When it became apparent that Moscow was endangered, aircraft factories were relocated beyond the Urals. Ilyushin and his engineers were busy re-designing production techniques, and only two months after relocation, IL-2s were again coming off the production line.
Production was understandably slow in difficult conditions but the following telegram "encouraged" them to do their best:
YOU HAVE LET DOWN OUR COUNTRY AND OUR RED ARMY. YOU HAVE NOT MANUFACTURED IL-2S UNTIL NOW. THE IL-2 AIRCRAFT ARE NECESSARY FOR OUR RED ARMY NOW, LIKE AIR, LIKE BREAD. SHENKMAN BUILDS PRODUCES ONE IL-2 A DAY AND TRETIAKOV BUILDS ONE OR TWO MIG-3S DAILY. IT A MOCKERY OF OUR COUNTRY AND THE RED ARMY. I ASK YOU NOT TO TRY THE GOVERNMENT'S PATIENCE, AND DEMAND THAT YOU MANUFACTURE MORE ILS. I WARN YOU FOR THE LAST TIME.
Guess what? All it took was a telegram from Uncle Stalin; production ramped up and Hitler was driven back!
KRIM champagne-style wine was most refreshing and 'free' at reception of the 'Renaissance Samara'. Thank you JW Marriott; that's the way to treat your guests!
Renaissance Samara is the best hotel in town and probably the only 4-star one. It is located in a residential area with rich country 'dachas'.
Door through to bedroom
Comfortable homely decor
En-suite bathroom and 2 separate WC completed the accomodation.
Complimentary fruit and water; I liked the small touches viz. the spun-sugar decoration!
'Y Palycha' (У Палыча) restaurant
The entrance is a reinforced metal door and down to the basement bunker
Адрес: Россия, г.Самара, 443099, ул. Куйбышева, 100.
Address: Russia, Samara, 443099, ul. Kuybyshev, 100.
Founded as a chain of cafes in 1991 in Samara, offering pelmeni and dumplings from Palycha. Over the years, the product line was increased and today the company boasts that "with the aid of our products and semi-finished products, any mistress can cover at least three tables - tea, dinner and holiday". I think that's a Russian joke.
The products include lettuces, jellies, meats, patties, cutlets, pie, dumplings, confectionery, chocolate candies tea etc. In 1999, the brandname "In Palycha" was introduced in Moscow. In February 2001 their cakes began to be sold in Paris. Then, the awards came rolling in. "In Palycha" participated at an international exhibition "Intersladost' - 2001" and became won five gold and three silver medals. At the 2002 international fair "Prodekspo-2002", it won "Best product - 2002" and one gold, five silver and four bronze medals. At WORLDFOOD 2002, the haul was 3 silver and 5 bronze medals.
I have to admit that Russian girls are cute.
I admit it again!
Creative decor; we were in a basement bunker
This is a light lunch for 7 people
Smoked fish, Rolled meats - tongue, belly, hamstring stuffed with apricots, prunes etc, Pickled mushrooms, Salmon roe, Meat and Fish pies
Caviar, Rolled Herring and Preserves, Pickled Water Melon, Apples and Vegetables, Smoked Sturgeon
Rolled belly fat stuffed with eggs, sausages, hams and other meats
I gather that its pretty cold in Samara so high-calorie foods and pies are the favourites. Every fruit and vegetable is pickled for the long winters.
That's not water; it's vodka - Самарскйа водка (Samarskya vodka)
Самарскйа водка (Samarskya vodka)
Cranberry juice is used to chase and wash down the vodka
Tamada Georgian white wine
Style: Dry White
Grape Varieties: Rkatsitelli 85%, Mtsvane 15%
Region: Tsinandali, Kakheti
The wine is fermented at cool temperatures, then oak-matured for 2 to 3 years.
Colour: Straw coloured with green tints.
Nose: Melon with hints of vanilla from the oak maturation.
Mouth: Crisply dry and delicate with melon, with acidity to a long finish.
Silver Medal - Moscow's Interdrink 1996
Gold medal - Tbilisi Georgia Wine & Brandy National Contest 1996
Honorary Mention - Sank-Peterburg's Osennaia Iarmarka Vin-96 1996
Silver Medal - Moscow Concours Professionnel International Des Vins 2001
Silver Medal - Moscow Concours Professionnel International Des Vins 2002
1st Grade Diploma - Tbilisi Festival "Vazis Sagalobeli" 2002
Grand Prix, Best Dry Wine in CIS - Moscow's Prodexspo 2004
чай (tea) or 'dzhai'
As I have never had native Russian food, I could not rank 'Y Palycha'(У Палыча) in the Russian firmament. I realise that the rich, fatty, pickled and flavoured foods are as a result of the climate requiring sustenance over long, cold winters. I now realise why so much acidity is needed to cut through the fatty food as exemplified by the wine, cranberry juice, mineral water and vodka.
Samara is an interesting city on the Volga, rich in tradition and residents who are proud that they are the true Russia. They consider Moscow as a mixed cosmopolitan city and not truly Russian.
'Y Palycha' (У Палыча) restaurant is a great introduction to Russian food and we enjoyed ourselves very much. We suspect that wine and vodka for lunch may not be advisable but who knows if that is normal Russian practice?
Photos and Text Copyright Melvyn Teillol-Foo, 2005.