Novotel Moscow Centre
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Fairly straightforward start. Manus and I met for lunch then headed off to Belfast to collect Judi and Nuala. Got out of Dublin and down to the Premier Inn at the airport. Amazing value at €39 for a double room. Reasonable meal then off to bed for n early start. Getting the bus at 4.45am!
... Chinese visa....Which we got 1 minute before the visa centre closed just a couple of hours before we flew out of the UK. Running through the city of London like a madman with my huge backpack on in 27 degree heat trying to reach the visa agency in time was not how I had planned to relax before our flight to Moscow, but a few miscalculations meant it had to be that way. Our trip almost started off in the worst possible way. All I can say is, don't ever try to organise a round the ...
... it, so I allowed myself to keep accelerating as they did to get in a faster mile. About halfway in they went properly ahead, but then slowed and I closed, feeling pretty good about my pace-low 6s, for sure. Just then another runner came floating by, on the road to my path, making it look easy. I passed him a few hundred metres further on, so I suspect he was doing intervals but still, he must have kept to a decent pace to have stayed close enough to me that a rep was quick enough ...
... Square where we have our group picture taken in front of the statue of Marshal Zhukov. We move on to 'Apple Hall', a gallery of Soviet modernist art for a look around and lunch. The centerpiece of the collection is a large open apple symbolizing Creation; Adam and Eve are in front with two enormous hands at either side of the door; the interior walls are covered in bas-relief sculptures depicting poses from the Kama Sutra. The apple was surrounded ...
... of privately owned upmarket stores and some wonderful cafes and food stores.
In the afternoon we were treated to a concert by the Folk Orchestra of Moscow ensemble playing traditional folk instruments. Young professional performers played balalaikas, dombra (mandolin) gooslei (sitar/harp) clarinet. flute, accordions and percussion. Absolutely fantastic performance of Russian folk music, Laras Theme (thought ...