All entries for Monday 22 August 2005

August 22, 2005

The Russian Experience (part 1)

Hi all,

Thought I'd do a quick run down of my holiday so far:

Day 0: Went up to Oxford and met up with Tim at the station. Had to wait for Andy for a while due to dodgy coaches, so went for a drink. And got IDed. Grrr! We were then treated to a delicious meal by Tim's parents, and driven at a ridiculous time of the morning to Heathrow…

Day 1: At the airport we started talking to a copper and his massaging/teaching/belly dancing wife. Firstly, I was interrogated by the policeman about maths and why it isn't definite, then his wife took over and explained the reasons for my whole life to me, before telling me I should blag more. To prove the point when she checked in she managed to get herself upgraded to first class, which we tried and failed miserably. We did manage to get a cup of tea each from them though, almost making us miss our plane!

The journey was good: we stopped off in Stockholm, Sweden to change planes and, as we had a little time, we went through passport control and sampled some of the local delicacies… Well, I had some meatballs at least!

We finally arrived in Moscow at 6 local time on Saturday and were met by a man who spoke no English to drive us to our hotel. The rooms are quite nice, and after exploring the area a bit we've managed to find some local amenities, including a good place to buy cheap vodka!

Day 2: Got up reasonably early, and after having some smoked salmon and cake for breakfast (it's what they serve…) we went on a guided tour of the centre of Moscow (though a Canadian woman did try to steal the guide from us…). The city is very European and has a very interesting and varied history, from son-murdering T'sars to culture-destroying presidents. I would go into detail, but it'll bore half of you and probably just get it wrong! One very important piece of information about the city though: the women are very attractive. We think this is due to Russia being the chief importer of Irn Bru, but the link is uncomfirmed at the moment!

After the tour we went on a long walk around the city, tried to go to a jazz festival but either went to the wrong field or it wasn't on, and had a lovely, cheap meal at Moo-Moos, a cafeteria style restaurant with incredibly low prices for big meals. It was so good that we went back again today.

When back at the hotel we went to the bar for just one or two drinks as a nightcap, but Tim started talking to a Russian chap who had just been kicked out by his wife. As it was then our "duty" to cheer him up, he convinced us to come to a bar with him to meet two of his friends. We left the hotel, and he just stuck out his arm, and the second car to go past just stopped to let us in! Was very strange… Anyhow, we then went halfway across Moscow with a random Russian having no idea where we were going or how to get back, and met up with his friends in the bar (we were quite relieved not to end up at some much worse place…). We then drank too much, found out that one of his friends was more than just a friend (perhaps why he was kicked out…), and Tim tried to chat up his other friend. Was a good night though, finally meeting and talking to some real Russians.

Day 3: Somehow ended up back in the hotel this morning with a serious hangover (was sick… I think that was due to a lack of water) and only made it out of the hotel at 12. We saw the Kremlin and took in the sights: well, I did for a while until I started to feel unwell again! For the rest of the day I've been relaxing, and enjoying a bit of free time after being here so long… Not sure what I'll be like after 31 days!

Ah well, the time is about to run out on the machine so I'll stop waffling, stay well all of you,

Sam


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