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Written on: Friday October 26th, 2007

A journal entry from: Around The World Without A Plane

Our 4 day stint in Moscow is just about up, and we finally did cease partying long enough to go out and do some of the touristy stuff. Friday night we must have done about 4 different nightclubs with another traveller friend, Marcus from Germany. Then Marcus joined Dave and I once more as we hit a great club on Saturday night somewhere in Moscow, where though I have no idea, and what it was called is a complete mystery too. But suffice to say we had a blooming marvellous time and arrived back at the Lenin Hostel sometime after breakfast.

Monday actually saw us see some of Moscow by day, and it's a nice enough place, although people are alot more serious than in St Petersburg and there is nowhere near as much to see. But I suppose in London you don't see many people walking joyously down the streets, especially in mid-winter. We saw the Kremlin, which is Russian for fortress. It contains a lot of old cathedrals, the Arsenal for the Russian army, Putin's offices and his palace where he lives. To be honest though we were a bit cathedraled out and other than a big old bell it was a little dissapointing.

Better was the Armoury, which is a museum inside the Kremlin, housing a bunch of Russian jewels and some really cool old Royal carriages. The highlight though was the handstand on the staircase of Putin's Palace, a place where photos aren't allowed, let alone acrobatics.

Red Square wasn't at all red, and isn't really a square either, but it's a nice enough place, apart from the stolic looking guards who all look like they've been attending a loved one's funeral. St Basil's Cathedral is the quintessential Russian building with the colourful domes and stands at the southern end of Red Square, but the highlight there is definately Vladimir Lenin's Mausoleum, where his body is embalmed from when he died in 1924, free for all to see.

It was here we finally succumbed to the tradition of Russian bribery, as the guard first directed us around a huge building back to where we started, only to be told we weren't able to go in as it was now closed. Up pops some Russian Angela Lansbury who after a bit of haggling negotiated our way in for a bribe of 500 Barney Roubles (apart 8 quid). It was well worth the money though, and the Mausoleum also includes the graves of Jospeh Stalin and Yuri Gargarin.

Our day was completed with a relaxing trip to a banya, a Russian bathhouse. After purchasing a fine, brightly blue coloured pair of slippers and slipping out of our clothes we jumped in a shower, in to a sauna and then in to a barrel filled with icy cold water. Despite the increased heart-rate and the shock it was extremely refreshing, just a shame about all the dodgy men walking round in the buff. They should really make these things unisex!