Welcome to Mother Russia!

Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Flag of Russian Federation  , Central Russia,
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I arrive in Moscow in the late afternoon to an email saying that Victor isn't actually in Moscow right now but that I can stay with his girlfriend and her mother just the same.  I still have limited options as the one family friend doesn't get to town for another 2 days so I work out meeting up with his girlfriend Svetlana after her work and go to check out the Red Square.  I make a pit stop at a money exchange place and put my stuff down on the counter as I change some Yen and dollars.  You may be thinking the worst with my things sitting on the counter, but it turns out to be dumb luck.  I pick up my bags and head for the train to the city.  Once at the train I realize that I have an extra envelope at the bottom of my stack of papers.  Looking inside, I see $742! Does that really happen to people?  I head back to the exchange place and wait around for five minutes for someone to claim rightful ownership and decide to make the most of it when no one comes back.

I arrive downtown and despite the intense security surrounding the Red Square (I'm talking about tanks and squadrons of army troops) I'm somehow able to walk right in with all my bags in tow... didn't get checked once and when my bags set off the metal detectors they just waved me right in. 

There is a huge village set up for the Champions League Finals between Manchester United and Chelsea and I walk around the entire area and take in the sights before heading to the metro to make my meeting with Svetlana.
On the way to meet Svetlana, I do a tour of the Moscow metro which is quite an impressive relic of the Soviet period.

I stop at about five or six different stations and each one is completely unique, and while some are nicer than others, they are all very well maintained!

We get to Svetlana's place and do dinner with her and her mother.  The food is good and we have a great conversation before I fall asleep faster than a Soviet missile based in Cuba...
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