Further down the rabbit-hole

Dobra dyen’ from Moscow.

We arrived on the overnight train from St. Petersburg at 5.30 in the morning, after an unfortunate drama (more on that a little later) that had taken place on board. My first impressions of the city were formed whilst in a state of mild shock and I mainly remember garish smears of coloured lights flashing past the taxi window in the pre-dawn gloom. Immediately I felt slightly cut adrift and a little homesick. However, after a good meal (served by waiters in serf uniforms – how quaint!) and a cab ride back to the hotel given to us by a deranged driver who spoke good English, I warmed to the place a little. The sight of the city lit up by night went straight to the heart of me – I go weak at the knees at the sight of any metropolis after the sun has gone down, and Moscow did not disappoint.

This morning we had a walking tour of the city, much as we had in St. Petersburg, which focused mainly on the Kremlin and the surrounding area. It’s almost impossible to put into words what this place is like; looking around it’s hard to know where to cast your eye as there is so much to see. At times it feels like you’re standing in the middle of a scene from a fairytale; all around you are exquisitely ornate buildings of varying colours, all in immaculate condition. St. Basil’s cathedral is especially breath-taking, even more so given my soft spot for Russian Orthodox churches.

Back to the ‘incident’ – some conniving, odious little s**t stole both our phones while we slept on the train. I believe it was the train guard. Suffice to say, I wish him a lifetime of pain and despair.
The internet is now my main point of contact with the rest of the world, so as from tomorrow evening I will be incommunicado until I reach Ulaan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia, in about a week’s time.

Another couple of humorous bits: the tour guide asking me in the lobby of the hotel when my ‘husband’ was coming down (which is wrong on so many levels, I don’t even know where to begin), and I discovered that the Russian word for brother is ‘brat’. Ha!

I hope everyone’s doing well, speak to you all once I’ve reached the land of Golden Horde.

KHAAAAAAN!

Greetings from the Motherland

Hi all,

I’m currently in St. Petersburg, writing from the lobby of our hotel. It’s situated on the Nevsky Prospect, which is the most famous street in the city. It’s an absolutely amazing road; reminiscent of the Champs-Elysees – very wide and lined with opulent buildings.

We’ve already had a 3-hour walking tour of the city with our amiable tour guide Sergey. It’s an absolutely phenomenal place, especially the Winter Palace and the Palace Square. Walking into the square I had one of those rare ‘aesthetic attitude’ moments – for a split second, your mind ceases to make cognitive judgments and just reels from the beauty it is witnessing. I’m praying that it’s lit up by night, as I’m going back there later with Jeremy (my brother) to take some more photographs.

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my memory card reader with me, so until I acquire one I can’t post photos. *facedesk*

Other interesting snippets – Russian taxis don’t have seatbelts in the back, the activity on the bank of the river near the Palace Bridge resembles a Richard Curtis film (many, many brides) and my brother has tried bear meat for the first time – needless to say, I am shocked and disgusted (although secretly impressed at his culinary bravery).

That’s enough from me – next stop Moscow.

Best quote so far: “The only mother I have is Russia.” (Thanks to Jeremy for that one – rest assured it was meant purely as a snide political comment, and should not in any way be interpreted as a desire for emancipation).