Thursday, June 5, 2008


We were helped on our arrival by Mel and Donna's friends' son; Brad. He and his Russian girlfriend Luda assisted us in purchasing our onward train tickets to St. Petersburg and from there to Riga. Much to our embarrassment the queue took forever to go down. Then when it was our turn the tickets turned out to be more than double the guide books and internet suggested price. Brad and Luda thankfully lent us the difference until we could get to the ATM again as the station didn't accept credit cards!

After all the faffing in the station we were escorted by Brad and Luda to our hostel. Mel and Donna were also staying at the same place. We're so grateful for all their help and patience! Later that evening after gathering ourselves we went for a cheap dinner with Mel and Donna at a place nearby the hostel. We were all tired so we grabbed an early night ready for a full day's sightseeing the next morning.

We were up bright and early on Tuesday morning and despite the weather looking ominous we headed out to Red Square and the Kremlin, passing St Basil's Cathedral on the way. We were in the Kremlin fairly early and spent a good while admiring the architecture not realising the tour groups were soon to arrive. By the time we were ready to start checking out the museums so were the tour groups. We'd managed to see a couple so beat a retreat to Arbat street to get some lunch.

Arbat Street had been hyped as the place to get souvenirs and cheap food. We did manage to grab some cheap local food at Moo-Moos (My-My in Russian). The Borscht was tasty and hot, a lot of our other choices were on the sweet side though... As for souvenirs we weren't that impressed, we did bump into 'Matching Tracksuit' - couple from the Trans-Mongolian. They were staying with their Uncle Boris no less.

After our big lunch we decided to walk it off by following a long walking tour along the river past the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour which was very tiring but worthwhile. We eventually wound our way back to the hostel just in time to avoid the downpour that had been threatening all day. Phew!

We weren't so lucky the next day as there were frequent showers all day, so after sorting our stuff out ready for leaving later we headed out into the rain. We got a good soaking so dried off touring the Metro system taking photos of all the ornate station decor. Not a bad way to waste an afternoon, seeing as though we only used 1 ride each as we didn't leave the system.

We got to the Leningradsky Station quite early and ended up having a broken conversation with a babushka in the seat next to us. There were a couple of station cats performing daredevil stunts high above the crowds below which helped us pass the time until the train was ready for boarding.

We were sharing a four berth cabin this time and as we'd booked late we had two top bunks. They were extremely narrow and being of more wide berth requirement i was dubious about getting any sleep. I shouldn't have worried. Thanks to the beloved eyepatch and earlugs I was out for the count soon after leaving Moscow not to wake until almost at St. Petersburg.

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