Fashion Victims

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Russia  ,
Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Breakfast was included in our hotel cost so we headed downstairs, not sure what to expect. We had our phrase book at hand in case we needed to interpret the menu, but luckily it was buffet. Breakfast started at 7am and we got there at 9am where we had to scrounge up some of the leftovers. It looked as though we had left it a little late as there was no bread left, no bowls or cups for the cereal and coffee, no knives and the dregs of juice left, but of course no cups to pour it into. As we have said previously the service here is pretty much non existent. The lady behind the counter reluctantly put out another loaf of bread so we hastily grabbed some bread and jam (which we had to spread with a fork as there were no knives), some salami, ham and something that tasted like cheese cake but looked like egg? Eventually she put some more cups out so Megs got a cup of tea. We knocked off six chocolate bar type tings that were in packets and also pocketed some jam, butter and "three in one" coffee for our train trip later on in the day. Back on our floor it looked like the hotel was a mental hospital. Long wide corridors, musty green paint on the walls and white doors. It was kind of creepy.

We were supposed to have our train tickets delivered to the hotel as we'd already paid for this, but instead we were left with directions to pick them up from a place called the Guide Centre. Having no idea where it was and the hotel was less than helpful as no one spoke English we figured it might be down the street a little bit. After walking in the freezing cold for ages we asked for directions at a camera shop as Rick needed to buy some film because the digital camera packed up the other day. The lady was very helpful, even trying to call her daughter that studied English at university. Unfortunately we didn't get very far and she couldn't contact her daughter, so still lost we headed across the road to what looked like a theatre. The lady here also called a friend who spoke English and she came to the foyer so we managed to figure out where we were. We also realised the place we were trying to find was located inside the same building as our hotel. Not very impressed as they were supposed to be delivered and we'd spent hours trying to find them!

We actually saw quite a bit of stuff while we were walking around. One place we were interested in was the Romanov Death Site. It had a memorial where Russian people still come too weep, despite the Tsar Nicholas II, his wife and five children being assassinated roughly 80 years ago by the Bolsheviks. Unfortunately the house, known as Dom Ipateva, was demolished by the local governor Borris Yeltsin in 1977, supposedly on Politburo orders. The iron memorial cross was right in front of the quaint Chapel of Revered Martyr Grand Princess Yelisaveta Fyodorovna. To the side was a cool "ice church" made of large blocks of ice and the Russian Orthodox Church of Blood. Eventually we headed back to the hotel and finally picked up our train tickets from the elusive Guide Centre. We decided to have a look at the Military History Museum which was interesting but all the captions were in Russian so we had to make up our own stories to match the relics. They also had bits of Gary Power's American U2 spy plane shot down back in the 1962 at the height of the Cold War. It was interesting to see the Russian perspective to both the World Wars. Across the road was the Afghanistan War Monument and the statue of Yakov Sverdlov, the Communist Party official that ordered the massacre of the tsar and his family. Ironically he died a year later in 1919. We also walked down to the beautiful Nikolai Sevastianof Mansion but didn't take any photos as there were a few police cars around and we didn't want to attract any attention.

Grabbing some provisions for the train trip at the local store we noticed one thing about Russia. The people seem to be either stuck in some trashy 80's time warp or have some form of furry animal stuck on their head. Rick swears he saw one guy with a grizzly sitting on his head.

We killed a few hours just updating the blog then headed to the train station. On the train we were pleasantly surprised to find on the final leg of our epic train journey we had a two bed cabin to ourselves. Yay! We relaxed, spread out our stuff and enjoyed the peace and quiet.
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