Red Red Square

Moscow Travel Blog

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the eternal flame

Arrived in Moscow to meet our new honcho Eugene or zhenya for short?!. It was snowing heaps and felt really cold, got our transfer to hostel and dumped our bags then went for breakfast up the road…well kinda skated up the road cause the streets were so icy!! Had porridge and a chat about what we wanted to do for the day, this honcho was already earning good honcho points. We decided on the sightseeing and I asked about ballet and the others a circus, he said he would find out that day (more points). Back to the hostel for a duffy up and then a walk to Red Square. CCOOOOOOOL!!

It is just such a stunning city all round!! Had a look at the outside of the Kremlin cause it is closed til tomorrow and the went into Lenin’s mausoleum, pretty strange, you walk in and then around the wall of a room and out the other side in silence.

friendly fur vendor
He is preserved in a glass case in the centre, stark white face (obviously as he has been dead quite some time) one fist clenched and one hand open. No one could tell me why, but I will try and find out later. Then into Saint Basils church which was very concrete with lots of spiral stairs and cubby holes.

Another lunch of borsht at moo moo café, and then to the museum which at the moment none of us can remember the name of (possibly the revolutionary museum). It was super informative but again after a few hours I was spent. We went back to the hostel and honcho found out that the ballet had been sold out for ages and the circus was a bit far away, bummer again (but points for trying). So out for a beer before some of the guys went to an ice hockey game. The girls and I went to a supermarket and back to the hostel for a cheap dinner of pasta and a bottle of wine.   

Friday 27.

you know it
11

Up bright and early as Melleah, Helen and I cooked eggs and toast for the crew before getting on our way to the markets. So much stuff!!! Russian dolls, chess sets, fur everything, amber, etc did a bit of shopping and went back to Red Square to see the Kremlin. It is a fortified strong hold and was once the centre of the Orthodox Church. It has a few cathedrals, a bell tower and some other lovely buildings all topped with the gold spinning tops. We were in there for a few hours and then it was a supermarket mission for train supplies.

And mission it was, armed with large bottles of water, bottles of vodka and more packet noodles than you could shake a stick at we braved the 2 branches of the metro and a couple of blocks walk home, we had well an truly again sealed our fate as pain in the arse tourists.

the biggggggest bell

Back in the hostel we found 2 new friends waiting for us Brother and sister Jay and Anna. We decided to go our to a pub down the road for a bite to eat and a beer or 2. Meat soup and Hoegaarden. Oh yeah JThen deciding we wished to continue half the group went out clubbing and we decided to get 3 bottles of wine and hang at the hostel, after those and a bottle of vodka we had quite efficiently bonded with our new companions

 

Saturday 28.11

 I decided on a sleep in with a wee bit of a head throb but some of the others ventured back to the markets.

the hat
Our transfer came at noon and off to the train station we go to start our first epic part of train riding. Got settled into our cabins and said farewell to our sweet Eugene. the temperature of the trains is slightly ridiculous at a slightly balmy 30 degrees when outside is around minus 15 at this point, shorts and singlets it is. The cabins are 4 berth so we filled 2 full ones and in our one we had a spare bed so we got a random Russian friend, he was lovely and gonna be with us for 19 hours to the town of Perm.

Not long after the train had started we went to investigate the state of the restaurant car. We found beer so we purchased it and drank it, then onto vodka, then another bottle of vodka, then another bottle of vodka. A few of the guys also found out for us the hard way that the train toilet doors are locked before, during and after station stops, these are pretty regular and some times for quite some time…good to know.

the train

Some of us had migrated to the room next door for our high jinks. In my actually room however some of the boys were getting a very intensive class on how to drink vodka with the Russian’s. They had accumulated a few Russian soldiers who were travelling home from fighting in Georgia. They were not bad chaps but after a few bottles of vodka were getting a bit friendly so the door got shut and they were eventually shooed off by the cabin attendants.

 

Sunday 29.11

  Woke up fairly early but not with a major zest for life.

Eugene and I
Overnight we had started to go upwards towards the Ural mountains. The scenery at this point was like a Christmas card, lot of snow covered trees and gingerbread houses. Had a makeshift wash with some face wipes and put some boiling water into some packet noodles for a nutrious breakfast. Spent the day playing cards and reading then went down to the dining car in the evening to sample some of the local fare. The menu was totally in Russian and even with a phrase book the was no chance of deciphering it. The waitress managed to say chicken, chicken, meat, rice, potato so I went for a mix of beef and rice. Was a tasty little rissole with an egg, rice, a wee salad, some corn and peas. The meat was the meatiest meat I have tasted in quite some time….straight off the cows back..moo.

We were all feeling a bit restful so after dinner went and watched a movie on Jay’s lap top then turned in for an early ish night, we had aquired a new room mate by this stage and he was fast asleep….and extremely smelly so there was certainly a knock out factor that night.

 

Monday 30.11

 Another rather uneventful day, we lost or smelly friend sometime in the early hours. Again filled the hours with cards, chats, music, beer. Some of the boys had a close call when getting off to get platform beer. They lost track of time and had to run for the train which had the stairs up and the doors nearly closed. They were only in shorts, sandals and jackets, without their passports or phones in minus 24 degrees in an unknown destination so the worst case scenario was pretty bad. Their wee hearts were certainly a thumping once they were on. No more off train expeditions for them!!

Went down to the dining car again in the evening with everyone this time. It is now so cold that the parts of the train between carriages are frozen on the inside, not just a wee bit but an inch or 2 of solid ice (this is inside the train with doors and windows closed. The closed windows in our rooms are also getting a healthy covering of ice on the inside! I had a chicken option which was pretty tasty and there was a stroganoff found as well that looked pretty good. Back to cabins and some more quiet time before bed. We were now joined by an immaculate Russian model who was quite the opposite of our previous companion.

 

  Tuesday 1.12

Up pretty early again the sun seems to be really bright really early and there are no cabin curtains. It is a bit hard to be working out what time we are at as the train stops run on Moscow time GMT +3 but now we have been through 5 time zones to GMT +8. kinda end up feeling a bit jet lagged from such an odd routine and time changes with a little motion sickness thrown in. the scenery is made up of more small ramshackle towns and a lot of snow.

Another new friend joins our cabin, this time a Russian business man. He was wicked. Had only just come in and was sharing around chocolate bars and having conversation as much as possible. We went down on another dining car jaunt and had some meat filled pastries and a potato salad ish thingee..one more tick on the food front.

We came back with a few beers and asked our friend of he would like one, he said defiantly not and pulled out a bottle of Armenian 4 star cognac. He then passed us around shots each with a chaser of high coca Russian chocolate. What a wicked experience!!! As you would all know any chance for a bit of alcohol knowledge and I am happy but the whole package was great. By far the best cognac I have ever tried…..may have to rethink my tequila favouritism!!

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the eternal flame
the eternal flame
friendly fur vendor
friendly fur vendor
you know it
you know it
the biggggggest bell
the biggggggest bell
the hat
the hat
the train
the train
Eugene and I
Eugene and I
Moscow
photo by: eefab