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3 Oct – Moscow

Today was a very looonng day. The weather was crappy, we were all pretty museumed out and there wasn’t a lot left to do in Moscow (apart from museums of course) and we had to fill in time till our 22:30 train to St. Petersburg!

We checked out of the crappy hotel stowed our bags and headed to the mausoleum why? Well because that’s what one does when they in Moscow! Besides we all wanted to see what all the fuss was about, after all the guy died in 1924. Yes he was very good and famous and all Russians love him (well almost all) but leaving him for everyone to gauck at – that’s a little strange. But one must keep in mind that Lenin himself wished to be buried and that it was Stalin who ordered him to be embalmed, just to spite him really, as they arch enemies of sorts – somehow I think Lenin won that little tussle.

So thankfully when we arrived the queue was very short and the rain was holding off. So 3 of us went through (you aren’t allowed to take bags or cameras in) and the other 3 of us waited with the bags. We then traded places. Now I am not a wax expert or an embalming expert, but the guy like I said died in 1924 and the first embalming apparently wasn’t that crash hot so they had to do it again, so for second time round he looks a little .. well too good. Taking into account that he had all his insides and brain removed (which apparently was supposed to be considerably bigger than a normal brain which may account for his high intelligence) it was still all a little weird, him laying there in the, I think its a crystal box, with his head propped on a pillow and then a blanket from his chest down – which for my liking looked a little flat and there was no pointy bit for his feet – and then there are the guards who hush you and move you on so you can’t stop and look long enough – probably so you don’t question if he is real or not and in my amateur opinion someone at Madame Tussards got paid a lot of hush money!

From the mausoleum we wandered down to St. Basil’s and all decided that another church was probably not what we wanted so we walked and admired our way around the base and then headed to St. Barbara’s street past the 7 churches and the remains of the biggest hotel in Europe – at least I think its the biggest but its being demolished so its kinda irrelevant now anyway and apparently it was pretty ugly too.

We then wandered through the GUM, a swanky shopping building back to the Menage shopping mall for lunch and some interneting.

Lisa and Chris headed off to do some things, Hamish, Kath, Tash and I had decided that a movie would be a good idea – it would be warm, dry and fill in time afterall we didn’t have to be back at the hotel till 20:00. We headed off for the movies, only to find that they had been shut for sometime – tourist information is not abundant in Russia! Bored, tired and weary we sat on a bridge looking up and down the river admiring the scenery and contemplating our next move. We decided to head towards the restaurant we had arranged to meet Chris and Lisa at and have a look through the shops near there. Shopping was unsuccessful so we headed for the restaurant and sat on a beer whilst we waited for the others to arrive.

We ate at Kish-Mish an Uzbekistan restaurant which was quite nice and then headed for the hotel to get our transfer to the train station for our overnight train to St Petersburg. On our way back to the hotel we picked up the necessary supplies – namely vodka and chocolate – for our long journey.

We boarded our sleeper train, squished into our 4 berth boxes, and started our journey. We finished the vodkas and chocolate and then attempted to get some sleep. The carriage had no windows that you could open and Russians like the indoors to be warm, very warm in fact. So the carriage was like a sauna and even boardies and a T-shirt would have been too warm, but we were in Moscow cold and rain clothes and in the sleepers its not like you can just strip off ! Not too conducive for sleeping at all but we did all manage a few hours until the conductor came through about an hour before our 6am arrival into St Petersburg.

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