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Moscow Metro

RUSSIAN FEDERATION | Sunday, 30 December 2007 | Views [717] | Comments [7]

Ok I took a gamble and decided to try my luck on the Moscow Metro, the main undergound rail system. Everything I've read says its cheap, fast and easy so what could go wrong? I had a map of the train network so found the closest station to the hotel easy enough. After lining up for a ticket and then being told I was at the wrong ticket office, I eventually got a 2-way ticket to Red Square for R34 (less than $2, yep its cheap). I fumbled my way to through the gate onto the platform and within 2 minutes the train arrived - yep its efficient. So squeezing myself between all the other passengers, it wasn't until 2 stops later when I realised I was going the wrong way!! So I hopped out and caught a train back the other direction. Now, being unable to read the station names, I counted the number of stops my map indicated before I had to get off. So either my map was wrong or I miscounted because I ended up on the other side of town, no where near Red Square!! Aye aye aye.

So using the return ticket I got back on again, and this time, I found the right station at the doorstep to Russia's most famous of places. Within a short walk I was at the Kemlin wall, along with a trillion other tourists! It was an overcast day but that didn't stop the mass of people out in the Square getting into the Christmas - New Year spirit. The place resembled a circus with all manner of stalls and tourist traps set up.  They even had an ice rink set up in the middle of the square! Huge scaffolds were being erected as part of a stage for the New Years concert, but despite all this, it couldn't diminish my wonder at the marvellous architecture of St Basil's Cathedral, the History Museum, and even the stark rigidity Lenin's Tomb.

Every building and church in the area was testament to hundreds of years of amazing history proudly emblazening Russian patriotism. There are massive statues all over the place of famous Russians, and as I'm not up to scratch with all their history, the reality of what they stood for probably passed me by. Along the boulevard outside the Kremlin, they even have statues of all the characters from Russian folk tales like the frog prince (but I can't recall the story about the pelican and the wolf :S).

I contemplated lining up for a ticket to get inside the Kremlin but it was madness. Hundreds of people in a massive line being shuffled through like cattle didn't inspire any desire in me to join them. Managing this many tourists at one of the world's premier tourist locations has got to be a logistical nightmare! It was cold and a light snow started to fall so I thought I'd try and follow a walking tour described in the Lonely Planet. That started off ok but I couldn't find the streets it described so I abandoned that idea as well. After finding my way back to the Metro, I squeezed back on a train and went back to the hotel where I could rest up for a while.

It was just after I had a beer, a vodka and dinner in the hotel bar that a group of westerners came in, part of some tour group. Well once again, I was amazed to find people from Perth!! - couple of girls, two guys from NSW and some poms who had made their way to Moscow from England and other parts of Europe. So after more beers and swapping travel stories, I ended up pretty merry before hitting the sack while some artistic ice skating was being broadcast live from Red Square on the tv.

This morning I awoke feeling the after effects of last night, blahhh. So after pulling myself together, I walked down to the Partizanskya markets which is close to the hotel. I had to buy some new gloves as I mysteriously lost one coming back from town yesterday, and the range of stuff for sale makes our Freo Markets pale into insignificance. Its a shopper's delight! But all I wanted was something in my stomach so found a food stall and had a cheesey pitta bread thing which made me feel better.

Now I'm passing the time until I leave for St Petersburg on the train tonight. I have a tendency to stress out at stations so will put some good vibes out for it to go smoothly this time :)  If I don't get to post another story before 2008, I wish you all a happy New Year!!!

Tags: Misadventures

Comments

1

Happy New Year to you too Matt!! I am enjoying following your travels from my home computer instead of work and love looking at the photos as well. Keep up the humorously descriptive commentary! Julie

  Julie D Dec 30, 2007 9:24 PM

2

Happy New Year Matty...sounds like a journey and a half ur on....gotta get ur maps checked out lol...try and find a back packers or youth hostel in town, they should have info and town maps and stuff....keep rockin :)

  Chris Dec 31, 2007 12:38 AM

3

Hey Mattie!

Sounds like you're having an absolutely fan-bloody-tastic time. Reading your blog is making me super jealous (and also realise your artistic writing talent... i've stored this skill away for future use :)). I think someone said you should get this published - I agree!

Anyways, I wish you all the best for the new year. May you spend it cheerfully vodka filled.

See you next year!

  Sarah Melville Dec 31, 2007 2:54 PM

4

hey matt -- make sure you take a tour of the metro stations with the speccy archtitecture -- although it sounds as if you have!! and the kremlin palace is definately worth the wait....even just to see the carriages and the faberge eggs!

  aberline Dec 31, 2007 4:19 PM

5

Hey Matt, getting lost is all part of the big adventure and I bet it won't be the last time.
Pity about the crowds at the Kremlin, I thought this was the off-season! You'll just have to go back one day and visit all the places you missed out on this time.
Happy New Year
Enjoy!!

  Mum Dec 31, 2007 9:28 PM

6

happy new year, matt! You are doing so well and it's so enjoyable to read uour blog. The whole language barrier is such a confronting thing, isn't it. You're a brave man out there on your own. We're off to india soon but will try to keep track of where you're at. Life, love and adventure....

  james, wendy and casey Jan 1, 2008 12:22 AM

7

HAPPY NEW YEAR Matt - Love reading your travel journal, I think you should become a journalist when you return to Perth - you write such a descriptive, humourous journal! 40 degrees here today so thinking snow in your part of the world to keep cool!! Happy Travels. Denise G

  Denise G Jan 3, 2008 2:06 PM

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