Posted: February 10, 2013 by geeza11 in Uncategorized

Welcome back readers to one of the last posts about our time gallivanting around major Russian cities. I will however continue to update you on our progress towards the Arctic Circle as long as there is some form of phone signal or satellite coverage where we camp for the night, which apparently there is in the middle of Siberia, but I digress. So here I go describing our short but extremely fulfilling time in Moscow and subsequently Yekaterinburg.

After what we thought was an extreme number of early starts (3), we had decided to book an afternoon train to Moscow from St Petersburg. The train was an incredible piece of engineering and formed part of the high-speed train network across Russia. It was classy, clean and spacious inside yet reached speeds in excess of 250km/h turning a 700km journey into three hours and fifty minutes of smooth jazz fun, although no free Wi-Fi L. The late start and quick trip made it much more enjoyable and we hopped off in Moscow feeling rather refreshed. One more crazy taxi ride later and we had arrived at the hostel. Once again very clean and friendly though the mornings proved to be interesting with only one toilet and shower for 20 people. We then did our usual thing and moseyed around the main streets in town and ended up in the extremely pretty Red Square. Bordered by the Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral (dome church #2), an expensive and very ornate shopping centre and the red buildings at the entrance it makes for an impressive sight. After spending some time taking in the city we returned to the hostel and planned out the next day.

With so much to see and do in Moscow we decided to add a bit of risk/time pressure and woke up at 11. First of all we decided to visit the Kremlin and Armoury inside. The walls of the Kremlin are an impressive red and stand out against the white snow that covers most everything. Inside there are ranges of old and new government buildings but a somewhat lower standard than the rest of the incredible city! We then visited this ridiculously grand and overpriced shopping centre before checking out an array of 15th-17th century Royal clothes, settings, carriages etc. Rather impressive.

He following day we had a rather funny experience in this sushi bar. In broken Russian we ordered a meal and a water/tea each being on a budget and all that. First of all two waters and two pots of tea came out. Upon asking why the double up, he spoke some crazy Russian and gestured he couldn’t refund it. So we were like fair enough, but then came two bowls of udon noodles and our confusion too. The waiters were having a not so sneaky laugh at the back. Finally we decided to lay down the law when my dish came out double as well and we said we wouldn’t take it no matter what. But when the waiter pointed out the largish sign that said 1+1=1, i.e. two for one, we felt we probably should take it. Awkward. It did however get us very cheap vodka and made for a great afternoon. That night we then visited a very classy bar in Moscow owned by Denis Simachev. They made any cocktail you wanted and at whatever time of the day. You could come in at 6am or 3pm and order a martini. It was a very nice bar and we returned there the next morning for some delicious breakfast too, minus the alcohol!

On our final day in Moscow we once again woke up late and then visited St Basil’s Cathedral. It is recognizable by the huge coloured domes that stand out against the horizon when viewed from afar. The inside was very interesting and certainly contained a lot of history. That night we had bought tickets for a Russian folk dancing concert called “Sadko”. There was an orchestra and dancers that performed the classic Russian dances and songs. It also taught us that the Tetris theme music is based on a Russian folk song as the game was developed in Russia. We then had that stuck in our heads for days. Rather catchy!

That pretty much sums up our time in Moscow. It is a very beautiful city and has so many things to see and do! I’ve kept it brief because it’s late and we’ll be starting the long journey North through snow and ice tomorrow but I hope this has provided some insight!

Guy and Patrick


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