Trip Start Sep 08, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Russia  , Central Russia,
Thursday, September 16, 2010

16th Sept - Moscow
. Arrive Moscow during rush hour
. Met by useless guide and taken to hostel in mini van with the face of Lenin on a flag for decoration
. Walk to Red Square from hostel and see the Kremlin, St. Basil's Cathedral, Lenin's Mausoleum and the GUM store from the outside
. Group goes their separate ways. Rick and I head over river to visit the amazing Tretakov Gallery. Useless guide takes us on detour to see icons then hovers as we enjoy the gallery.
. Stop off at park on the way back to meet the others to look at Mihail Chemiakin sculptures
. Go for lunch in Kuznetsky area and see former KGB building along the way
. Meet others at Red Square - guide has already abandoned us
. Sophie and I go window shopping at GUM store while boys go for beers
. Meet boys at bar and all head back to the Kuznetsky area for dinner - find bar selling beer in large urns - major football match on the TV between 2 rival Russian teams - brilliant atmosphere - rubbish food

17th Sept - Moscow
. Take metro to tourist market in the northwest of Moscow in the morning - odd place - former playground of one of the Czars
. Group splits up. Tom, Tom, Sophie and Carl go to Gulag museum while Rick and I head towards Tolstoy Museum
. On the way to the Tolstoy museum we do the first part of our Moscow Metro tour along the awesome stations to the west of the circle line - jumping off for 2 mins at each station to take photos - more people pass through the Moscow metro everyday than London's Tube and New York's subway everyday so no room for dithering
. Take a business lunch at wonderful cafe next to Tolstoy museum - Business lunches in Russia involve 2 courses that are generally much cheaper than 1 course on a regular restaurant's menu - they don't advertise it so we have to ask!
. Visit the wonderful Tolstoy museum bathed in warm autumn light - stand in front of the mirror where Tolstoy once starred at himself
. Go across river towards Shikov Tower taking in views of Ministry of Information buildings, the entrance to Gorky Park, the enormous statue of Peter the Great on the river and the oversized statue of Lenin
. Residential area surrounding Shikov Tower beautiful with old fashioned tram running through
. Carry out 2nd part of our Moscow Metro tour - we run out of battery at my favourite station that commemorates the scientist who set out the periodic table
. Head back to hostel, do laundry and prepare for train journey to Irkutsk
. Carl's bed invaded by some unknown man's small underpants
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