DAYS 5 & 6 – Moscow & The Golden Eagle

Hmmmm. Writing this blog is going to be more difficult from now on since the WiFi/Internet connectivity is intermittent. There’s nothing wrong with the train WiFi its just that we are passing through large areas of land so remote that there is no phone signal for us to connect to. Teenagers may struggle with this fact at concept level, but it’s just how things are. What I’ll do is post direct to Facebook & Twitter directly, since that’s quick and easy, and use the Blog every couple of days to try and fill in the gaps.

Day 5 (Tuesday 12th Feb) we arrived in Moscow from Warsaw and were collected and taken to our Hotel, The Four Seasons located on Red Square. That night we had a welcome dinner to meet the other guests on the train – there are 26 in total, and then grabbed a great nights sleep in the massive hotel beds. It’s a lovely hotel, but I had to miss out on my nightcap since the price was roughly the same as the GDP of. Small African country.

Day 6 started with a guided walking tour of Red Square, Lenin’s Tomb & The GUM department store. Overnight the Moscow drizzle had converted itself to snow and the whole area looked pretty much exactly like what you might wish for a Moscow tour. We continued on to the grounds of the Kremlin and visited what are in effect some of the Russian Crown Jewels The Tsars and their predecessors tended not to do things by halves – 3 kilo gold soup bowls and Cartier Eggs all over the place. I’m guessing they were not overly stressed about the size of the next gas bill or a mortgage rate rise.

We took luncheon (note how up-market I’ve become now. I don’t have lunch anymore) at the famous Cafe Poushkine – Borscht and Stroganoff, because Pushkin would have. Then onwards to visit the Moscow Space Museum. We’re so very accustomed to thinking of America in space that we tend to overlook the Russian contribution which was significant. They were first… Sputnik, First dog in space, first man in space, Soyuz & Mir; The list goes on. It didn’t go so well for the first dog in space, Laika, who bit the golden dog biscuit after only 7 hours and is presumably still up there? The next mission had two dogs who both survived and now stand (stuffed) in the museum, which is frankly a little bit disturbing.

Best bit of the day was travelling on the Moscow Metro. Each station is decorated differently; statues, chandeliers, sculpture, paintings. London and Manhattan look rather tacky all of a sudden. There is only one fare to all destinations and you pay it on entry – there’s no payment when you get off. Simple and effective.

In the evening we boarded the Golden Eagle and got under way. I’ll do a more detailed post about life on board on one of the quiet days later on. Tomorrow, the Tartar capital of Kazan and then we head on over the Ural Mountains to Yekaterinburg.

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