Mockba the Magnificent!
Trip Start May 07, 2003
65Trip End Sep 05, 2005
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1st day was a poor show on the vodka front, everyone was too tired and no one was in anyway feeling banterous at all, plus we had the two old babuskas in our cabin to think of. 2nd day however was a different matter entirely, with the ladies leaving us to our own devices we able to make an early start. The Californian couple, the lovely Tim and Jess, we've been with for over a week now started off proceedings with a bottle of wine and a few beers. Before long we were getting wired into the vodka and in no time had attracted other carriage dwellers, including the Ozzies from the UB-Irkutsk leg. By the end of the night I was running up and down the carraige making new friends with all sorts of people, of-course in the morning I remembered only a few of them but had the joy of unknown people coming up to me afterwards - "hey ya crazy Scotsman, how the hell are ye?"
Anyway other than that, the journey was quite uneventful, very quick with no border crossings and no problems. We travelled around 5800K's in 3 nights and four days. That's 6 timezones, I think...
Before we knew it, we arrived in Moscow. This has been the biggest surprise of my entire last 2 years. We all expected a dull, drab city, bogged down with the communist legacy. We were actually greeted with one of the most beautiful and interesting cities I've ever been in. If you don't bump into the lamposts while gazing at the incredible, unique and colourful architecture you certainly will do as the legions of Russian super-models pass you by and leave you in a slavering mess. Even the marbel clad subway system here is a piece of artwork and a historic relic in it's own right. Red Square is simply stunning, they don't call it that for nothing: most buildings are either painted red or use red bricks. The scene is dominated of-course by the otherworldly sight of the incredible St. Basils cathedral and the enormous Kremlin lying adjacent with the old man Lenin's tomb. Moscow is buzzing at this time of year, we've been enjoying blazing sunshine, 26 degree temperatures and the numerous beer gardens that seem to have been set-up round the city centre. The nightlife here is meant to be some of the best (and most expensive) in the world - who know's if the wallet can take it - eeeak!
Tomorrow, we'll be braving the guards at the Kremlin to go poke Lenin in the eye, maybe sqeeze in a river tour too. But this place is WAAAAAYYY beyond our budget, geezus it's pricey. We must leave here too: in a blur. Maybe for visiting some ancient towns round the Golden Ring, most probably to St.Petes for the weekend, then for the ferry over the Baltic from Tallinn.