Farewell dear Russia... and good riddance!
Tallinn Travel Blog› entry 21 of 29 › view all entries
Guys, loads of stuff to catch up on.
After quite along stint away from the bikes we are now in Tallinn. We arrived late last night, headed out for some partying and of course got drunk on vodka. CM and JP are having a lie in... need I say more!
After 3 days in St Petes, we took the over night train to Moscow. Moscow is very big and full of newly cashed up russians. We met Blair (a friend of Sara's) who explained that since the fall of communism some 20 years ago the whole city has gone through a dramatic transformation towards capitalism. The effects have been mostly good (depending on your point of view) but has also created a serious culture of yuppyness. And for some reason all decent cars must be black. The anecdotal story illustrates this.
Needless to say it's now one of the most expensive cities in the world and we learnt the hard way about how not to travel on a budget. JP unknowingly bought 2 apples for a 2 quid! That said Moscow does have a few things to offer the intrepid traveler. The metro system is AMAZING! We never waited for more than about 30 seconds. The stations are a work of art and there is hardly any advertisments up on the walls mobile phone coverage is complete. See photos. What's more a single trip to anywhere on the system is 14 rubbels which is about 25 pence.
Other highlights included the seven sisters (hardcore soviet architecture), red square and the russian baths. See photos.
The baths in moscow deserve a special mention. Think roman baths and your on the right track. Lots of marble, leather, frescoes and mirrors. Think big russian men rubbing them selves head toe in mud. Think sitting in a super hot sauna while a russian men lie on their stomachs and get whiped with wads of birch leaves. Lots of other features like hot tubs, warm tubs and cold tubs and buckets of water.
We left St Petes to spend a night in a Russian Monastery with some monks near the estonian border. Despite the rather good roads we could not manage the distance and pulled up 4/5th of the way to set up camp in day light. We found a beautiful opening in a forest, see pics. After spending a chilly night in front of the fire we arose to what appeared to be bear tracks (keep in mind that JP and CM are not qualified trackers and this sounds much better than a dog). We pushed on to the functioning monastery which was built around some caves in the 13th century.
After a 3 hour border crossing, the transformation into Estonia was beautiful. After being dejected from warmth and hospitality in Russia one of the first things we experience was three little children running from their house down to the front fence just to wave at us. A welcomed change. Everything just got better, houses and gardens where in kept order, many people stopped on the street to help if we pulled over for more than a few minutes.
Bye for now,
JP and CM