moscow snow squeaks

January 4, 2009

St Petersburg – Moscow 02-03.09avrora

Last day in St Petersburg was the coldest yet, minus 10 plus a bitter wind. We kept warm by walking very fast and stopping for hot drinks when it all got too much. Little stalls sell lemon tea for about 20 roubles (50p). The Battleship Avrora , which tradition says started the Russian Revolution (as if you didn’t know) was surprisingly interesting and free! We didn’t learn a lot as all the info was in Russian but the pictures were fascinating. Next the Onion Church again, this time inside – it was amazing – every inch of space on the walls was covered with mosaics made from tiny, tiny ceramic pieces and every inch of the floors with fantastic marble. They used to grow potatoes there in the war and there was a picture of Jesus obviously holding a spud……or perhaps it was the loaves and fishes story. Still freezing, so on swiftly to the Idiot Café……. the Dostoyevsky influence may have been a bit overdone but the complimentary vodka was more than welcome and you could read (and take away for free!) any of the books that people left. I was in my element – vodka, pot of tea, chocolate cake and a free book!

We took the overnight train to Moscow – it was clearly on loan from the Harry Potter Movies – it was red, polished and looked as if it should be steam powered. It’s what I am hoping the Trans Mongolian looks like. Attendants in amazing long bluecoats with big brass buttons checked tickets and there were gold tassels on the curtains at the windows. I kept waiting for Hercule Poirot to appear !

You put your bags inside spaces under the seats and turn the seats into beds. We shared the compartment with 2 computer analysts on their way to a holiday in India (sounds like another Agatha Christie plot line to me). They were telling us that winters now bore no comparison to the ones 20 years ago which were regularly minus 40. Minus 40!!!!

Despite the apparent opulence the beds were somewhat hard but we slept and arrived in Moscow at 8am.

Let’s not talk about the taxi we took to the hotel because it was definitely not public transport but it might not have been legal. Then Red Square…it was SNOWING and we were in Red Square!! Lenin was asleep but has invited us to visit tomorrow and we took some pretty photos with more onions behind us. We then spent a lot of time in GUM keeping warm as it was now minus 14…ouch. We decided that Gum should be renamed Glum cos the assistants continue to perpetuate this myth that they are all miserable souls.

Had a fantastic last meal with Becca and Chris who followed us to Moscow from St Petersburg (not in a sinister way!) they found us a lovely veggie restaurant….who needs meat to enjoy themselves? They return to work in Houston/Boston tomorrow …their company has been great fun and very helpful – they have said they will follow our blog.

Managed to speak to and see Paul and David – Skype is soooo clever. Did I mention it’s still snowing?… Moscow snow squeaks when you walk on it.


3 Responses to “moscow snow squeaks”

  1. bas and cas Says:

    Happy New Year to both of you!!Great post very interesting we are jealous.lara say’s the trains sound like the one she went from sofia to istanbul on, she was more afriad of possible cowboys coming through the windows than murder plots!!
    keep safe looking forward to the nest instalment,
    ‘The Smiths’

  2. Max Says:

    Thought you might like to see me, im famous.
    woof woof!

  3. Jessica, Ian, Barbara & Max! Says:

    Hi, sounds like you are having an amazing time!!
    Suddenly are bit of frost and minus 3 seems pretty
    pathetic! Will keep your secrets safe from bab
    Looking forward to your next thrilling installment
    Happy New Year

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