Janey: Hello from Moscow. So we have quite a lot to catch up on... We set forth for Russia on the 28/2 and the train journey was relatively harmless and uneventful. The trek across St Petersburg put us all on edge and a little because suddenly we were confronted by very fast motorways all around us and no particular crossing points to speak of... we risked our lives and made it to the hostel, cuba hostel... which was very very cramped and our room stank of cheesy doritoes. Over the next 3 days we explored St Petersburg, going to all the main sights - the church of the saviour on spilled blood, st isaacs cathedral, kazan cathedral, we even 'did' the national hermitage in 2 hours but I don't think we can say we did it thoroughly. We just wandered through the rooms - it really is an awesome building. the rooms themselves were each pieces of art with their amazing carved domed ceilings and mosaic flooring and amazing chandeliers. The art was good too! saw some classic cezanne paintings and picasso and some of them old codgers. We actually got by ok with the russian communication. mostly because they usually had their menus in english ha ha.
Overall, after discussion, although miesje did like st petersburg, we did just find it very intimidating. its just so big and fast and bussly and the whole place is just abit... gritty.
It was an experience and beautiful in its own way however and we're definately glad to have experienced it. and i have developed a definate liking for blinis (pancakes)...
On the 3rd march we set off for moscow, managed to get here without hitch and even managed to use the metro to get to our hostel. We didn't get on any wrong metros but did do a good deal of wondering around looking definately lost and beign scared of being hounded by some random police - which we didn't.
As an aside, after spending so much time worrying about visas and getting in to russia - it was so painless its ridiculous, all they did was take our passports at the border, take them away to check the visa and handed them back half an hour later. thats it! no questioning, no rifling through our dirty laundry... easy peasy!
ANYWAY. we made it to this hostel which is a really nice one, Napolean... and we have a PADDY! in our midst now too. so for the last two days he has been leading us around moscow showing us all his old haunts (his familys flat in the military base place), red square at night, the kremlin, gorky park (couldnt get in because we had to pay)... some other parks... peter the great mahoosive statue on the river... we've been mostly wandering around moscow and getting a feel for the place. we definately prefer it to st petersburg - its alot more manageable. but the russian women.... they deserve their whole own entry which i do not have time for now. we are going back to the kremlin as it was closed yesterday... we're all alittle bleary eyed after muchos drinking in a little bar last night. we got accosted by a man in there who tried to make us drink more and dance all night. we ended up in a club next door called 'propaganda' which apparently has very vicious 'face control' (any ideas, we decided it was that they dont let ugly people in) however, they let us in in our thermals and dirty jeans so the control cant be that vicious!