|We arrive at Moskovsky station, St Petersburg for our night train to Moscow.
Its identical “brother” station is, not surprisingly called the Leningradsky station and is located in Moscow.
There is some confusion in the shop. There are apparently too many customers, and the shop is closed.
The travelling is a bit of an ordeal, but I have always dreamed of visiting Moscow and standing in Red Square so it will all be worth it.
|As our group have a look around the station, some of the girls and I guard the bags.
Minutes later we head for the platform and walk next to easily, the longest train I have ever seen.
The Jobsworth Hitler of a train guard demands passports and stamped documentation, but is content to stop at a urine sample which is a relief to everyone !.
He later tells our guide Artem to encourage us to buy drinks from him ?.
|In the train sleeper Cariage.
It was very cramped and hot and we were next to the fire exit so couldn’t open the window.
I wore my Rohan Goa trousers (I bought them for use in the tropics, I never thought they’d be so useful for rail travel).
I put myself into a relaxed mental state (something I practice doing regularly, for situations like this) and got about 7 hours sleep.
A few of the other passengers had a rough night.
|We arrive in Moscow and clamour to get off the train, get some fresh air and stretch our legs.
|We are driven by coach from 3 station’s square (its a square with 3 railway stations in it) to our fairly cosmopolitan hotel.
We drop off our bags and head for the Metro station.
The Moscow underground was built in 1929 and is considered to have some of the worlds most beautiful underground stations.
| This station Ploshchad Revolyutsii featured extensive statues of ordinary people bravely fighting for Russia.
People kept walking past and touching the dogs nose (Its considered lucky to touch brass).
It wasn’t very lucky for the statue dog, who’s nose was a completely different colour from the rest of him and his “owner”.
|Changing of the guard.
We change our itinerary briefly as just at that moment, the changing of the guard is taking place at the Tomb of the unknown soldier in Alexander Gardens.
The Tomb of the unknown soldier is a war memorial, dedicated to the Soviet soldiers killed during the Great Patriotic War of 1941 – 1945.
The torch for the memorials eternal flame, was transported from St Petersburg (at the time named Leningrad) when it had been lit from the Eternal Flame at the Field of Mars.
The inscription on it says “1941 – To Those Who Have Fallen For The Motherland – 1945”
|Theatre square. So named as it contains the Bolshoi, Maly and Russian Youth Theatre’s.
The Theatre behind the portakabins is the Bolshoi Theatre. Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake premièred at the theatre on Saturday, March 4, 1877.
|Marx statue opposite Theatre Square.
Its inscription reads:
Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь!.
Which actually means: Proletarians of all countries unite!.
|We wandered around to find somewhere to get a coffee (we had eaten breakfast at the hotel, but caffeine was needed).
As we strolled around, we passed the famous Hotel Metropol, where Lenin gave several famous speeches.
|Outside the hotel, is this revolution carving.
|Moscow has been named the worlds most expensive city for the 2nd year running and 75 billionaires live there (more than any other in the world).
No surprise then, to find luxury car showrooms everywhere !.
|Lubyanka building in Lubyanka square – synonymous with terror and the secret police (it had previously been an insurance building).
The home of the FSB, Formerly the KGB and formerly the Cheka’s, founded by “Iron Feliks” Dzerzhinskiy.
His statue was torn down by a cheering crowd and now resides in the Graveyard of fallen monuments.
|Although I had problems changing cash throughout the trip, some people were drawing cash from cards, and had endless problems due to fraud protection.
The problem was compounded with the cost of Mobile calls from Russia to banks at home, which at times, cost more than the amount of money, people wanted to withdraw.
Here, after much messing about, Shane returns with some cash having successful withdrawn money from the cashpoint.
|After all the travelling, stress and bureaucracy, we arrive at Red Square
Stand in Red Square, has been written as a to-do on the bluelist which I re-read every day for the last 4 years.
I’m standing right next to it and I am having trouble containing my enthusiasm.
We walk to wards the entrance and…
|Find that its closed.
Clearing my head I decide to be practical, there is always a solution. I discuss jumping the fence, renting an army uniform, bribing security.
Artem tries everything he can but police just don’t seem to care and adopt the mildly irritated, “why are you bothering me with this” attitude that I am now tired of seeing.
He explains that there is nothing he can do, and it won’t re-open until after we have left.
|The trip had disappointed me in many ways up to this point. At that moment it was effectively over for me, and just a matter of how quickly I could get home.
|Its decided that we will “circle” the square (if that makes sense ?) and see the main parts of it, from the back.
The GUM is the most luxurious shopping centre in Russia and its full name Gosudarstvennyy universalnyy magazin dates back to its nationalisation in 1921.
Although shopping emporiums don’t normally float my boat, it really was rather spectacular.
|As we round the corner towards Saint Basil’s a security man is still guarding the gates.
|St Basil’s is quite fantastic. Legend has it, that Ivan the Terrible had the architect Postnik Yakovlev blinded once it was completed, so that his work couldn’t be repeated.
In my minds eye, the picture I was going to take in Red Square was going to be in front of Saint Basil’s.
Sadly, this picture is taken in front of a car park. It was still pretty cool being there though.
|Making our way back through the GUM, we spot a nice cafe and I’m able to try my first taste of beef stroganoff.
|We have the option of carrying on exploring through the afternoon.
This website is subtitled the adventures of an ordinary person, so I wont try to colour things up.
I was bitterly disappointed and just wanted to be on my own in my hotel (I know some people will say I should have made more of the moment, but I was emotionally crushed and I just needed some space).
A few of the other travellers jump on the Metro with me and while exiting the station, I get a photo of this statue in Partisanskaya.
|Partisanskaya also has this rounded ceiling, which I had read about in my guide book.
Off back to my room, I write up some notes, text a few friends back home and listen to my Ipod.