Trip Start Nov 15, 2004
70Trip End Nov 10, 2005
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We arrived in Moscow and managed to easily find our hostel thanks to the initially overwhelming but remarkably efficient and amazingly decorated metro train system (complete with 154 stations). We arrived about midday, so had enough time to indulge Kate in a vegetarian restaurant (she had been living off salad and mushroom soup and so now finally got to try Russian borsht) and visit the Red Square and the somewhat bizarre St Basil's Cathedral
We visited the 16th century Novodivechny convent and the adjacent cemetery, so Kate could find the graves of Checkov and Stanislavsky (theatre icons) and had a cheaper feed (sandwiches) by the Moscow River, before heading to the showcase of Soviet Socialism, the All Russia Exhibition Centre or VDNKh. The long wide boulevard is lined with majestic buildings and statues commemorating the revolution and the workers, and previously held exhibitions on the Communist idealism. Ironically it now houses shops and bargain stalls, as well as being the place to hire rollerskates, eat ice cream and do just about anything that involves spending money including gambling.
Our final day in Moscow we travelled into the outer suburbs to visit the former Royal Estate at Klomenskoe. The area is a peaceful park housing the old orchards, residences, church and other relics. It made a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Moscow's ten million people (and seemingly one million police - who randomly check foreigners passports and extort 'fines' - luckily we have thus far (we leave in five hours) escaped this but have seen many victims).