Day 4

Trip Start Sep 14, 2006
Trip End ??? ??, 2007

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Woke up early and headed on foot to Red Square. The Square was empty and I started taking photos and suddenly the gates opened and the Square filled. To the left was the GUM (think Harrods) and to the right the Kremlin. Directly ahead was St Basil's cathedral which is simply awesome. What the Kremlin has in might, St Basil's has in beauty. I walked around the back of the Kremlin where the Moskva river flows and saw it from the other side. I realised that I was looking down the road next to the river that featured in one of the bond films.

Not many people at all speak English here, I got a Coke from a cafe and the woman asked me in English if I spoke any Russian after I replied "no", she just laughed!

Getting back to the hostel my tactic of sitting in the lounge waiting to be invited out to a restaurant with a group didn't take long to bear fruit. In 10 minutes I was off to a Ukranian restaurant with Wayne (Seattle) and James (York). We'd heard they had menus in English and that was enough! As we arrived there were no tables so we were given some national drink (cabbage water and spice vodka) and some appetisers of gherkins and lard. Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought appetisers were meant to make you want to eat more, not kill off your hunger completely! Thankfully I'd eaten mine before I realised it was lard, in the menu there is a whole page of Lard-based main courses! I was adventurous and had went for Chicken Kiev (it's Ukranian!).

Back to the hostel around 10pm, and I met up with two other guys Steve and Lee who were heading back to Red Square for night photos. I went along too and was glad because it's great there that time of night. I got a great shot of St Basils as the other two were setting up the tripod. As they started to take shots with it, some KGB guy the size of a basketball player came and stood in front of the camera and demanded that we delete our pictures. It was the tripod that caused offence not the cameras so as I didn't use the tripod I played innocent and managed to keep my photos, while the other two had to delete in front of two new uniformed guards.

Back in my room I met two English girls who strangely already knew of my plans to go Moscow-Beijing. Hostels are great for talking about your journeys plans etc with fellow travellers, so it's no suprise when they talk about your plans amongst themselves. For example I put one guy Steve, in touch with another guy Lee who were both doing similar tours through siberia. Anyway, the Enlish girls are Jo and Lisa, they're on a two week holiday and we stayed up chatting before hitting the hay around two.
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