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RUSSIAN FEDERATION | Tuesday, 11 November 2008 | Views [492]

We arrived into one of the many railway stations in Moscow early this morning, and fought our way to buy a metro ticket among masses of people. Our hostel is in a great location, only about a 10-15 minute walk from Red Square. We left our heavy packs there and headed to the main square for the sunrise. St Basil's Cathedral blew us away, it's so colourful and fairy-tale like. The Kremlin was more impressive than I had anticipated, with awesome gates and high brick walls. Red Square also has the State History Museum, which is another incredible brick building at the north end, and the GUM (rhymes with 'plume') department store that is simply amazing - very posh with fountains and iron railings.

I visited Lenin, who after dying in 1924 is still lying in state in his own mausoleum in Red Square. There was virtually no queue to see him (very unlike Tiananmen Square in Beijing), and I thought he looked like a margarine sculpture - yellow and very waxy.

We visited the Cathedral to Christ the Saviour, which Stalin destroyed and was subsequently rebuilt in the last 20 years. It was the biggest and most intricately decorated church we've seen yet, with enormously high ceilings, rich icons and chandeliers.

Moscow has really surprised us with its beauty. I was expecting a more drab city, but what we've seen so far has been amazing.

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