Day 29 – 15 March 2017 – St Petersburg to Moscow
A little shock to the system – up at 5am and off to the station to catch the Sapsan fast train to Moscow. It looks like it rained last night and the city is very quiet as we travel the grey rain moistened streets.
Once on the platform we find the train is sleek and modern. Once on board we find it is also comfortable.
Whisk ….. Four hours later we are stuck in Moscow traffic – this ain’t no St Petersburg!
Then reminding ourselves this is a first world problem – we try to check-in at the Ibis Hotel. Apparently no record of our booking – then the booking was found but the hotel was overbooked. Finally we were upgraded to an apartment. As we finally got to our room we discovered someone already there. Finally after several trips up and down to reception it was sorted. The good news is – we have a small kitchen. The bad news initially was – we thought we had no bed till we discovered it was a Murphy bed pulled down from the wall. Later hotel staff rang to check we were OK, delivered a fruit bowl and gave us a late check-out. Happy.
For the afternoon we met our new guide Polina who we both immediately liked. Warm, open, and embarrassingly multi-lingual. Polina took us via the metro to Pushkin Square where we began our city tour winding and walking toward Red Square and the Kremlin.
On the way we visited the Moscow version of the food hall that we had loved in St Petersburg, Eleseevskiy’s. Again stocked with beautiful food and decorated by chandeliers.The story here was that along with the main door from the street there was also a side door that led to the liquor department.This was because the main entrance on Tverskaya Street faced a Cathedral and the entrance to liquor shops had to be a certain distance away.
Tverskaya Street is one of the main thoroughfares of Moscow and leads directly to the Kremlin as the central seat of political power in Russia.It is said that you can follow it all the way to St Petersburg and links the two most important cities in Russia. One building is famous because it was moved back several meters to enable the road to be widened. The work was completed using the men who had participated in raising the pillars for St Isaacs.
We ambled down side streets noting the many different types of architecture sitting side by side. This has been a result of various waves of crisis and construction that have impacted Russia in general and Moscow in particular.A major impact on Moscow was when Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812 and arrived in Moscow to find that the Russians had already burnt sections of the city to ensure that there was nothing left for the captors.
The seven sisters large skyscrapers built in Stalinist style in the 1940s and early 1950’s to show the westRussia’s success after WWII.
Our final stop for the day and a cold visit to Red square seeing Lenin’s tomb. What Mel remembered from the 1970’s were the queues to walk past the tomb. Polina assures us this is still the case however the tomb is closed for renovation at present.
Back on Metro and the Long way home.Long because it is one thing getting off at the right station completely another getting home from the station.Finally got our bearings visit local Supermarket and made dinner in our tiny apartment.