Mo In London

Travel Blog - COMING SOON!

Monday, September 03, 2007

RUSSIA - Moscow & St. Petersburg

Finally! Our pictures :)

(this is a VERY long post - but I just wanted to get it all in one!)

St. Basil's Cathedral - viewed through the Resurrection Gate

GUM - large shopping centre on the left (1000+ shops) and St. Basil's on the right - all right on Red Square

The other side of Red Square - you can just see the Kremlin peeking over the wall
Me in the Red Square with the Historical Museum behind me
Murray (in the red t-shirt) in front of the Lobnoe Mesto, the platform from which the tsar spoke
The Minin and Pozharskiy statue (2 heroes from the Time of Troubles - in 1612 they led their army to victory when they drove the Poles out of the Kremlin). It's now situated right in front of St. Basil's (it was originally in the middle of the Red Square)
Murray and I in front of St. Basil's Cathedral
There was some sort of protest march going on

Murray with Lenin & Tsar Nicholas II lookalikes
Guards protecting the eternal flame (when they changed shifts they'd march off like this)- does not look like an energy efficient march to me!
On guard
Murray in his kickin' shirt with St. Basil's

The streets are SO wide in central Moscow! (we were shocked to see roads 8 lanes wide in the centre of the city!)
Cathedral of Assumption - in the Kremlin
Crosses on the wall of the Kremlin
The Tsar Bell - the largest in the world (weighs over 200 tonnes!).
The broken off piece weights 11.5 tonnes as well!

The dome of a massive shopping centre that is pretty much underground the Red Square
The dome viewed from below
View from our river cruise - from left you can see the Trinity Tower, the Great Kremlin Palace and Ivan the Great's Bell Tower.

MASSIVE statue of Peter the Great

another view from the Moskva river - passing by the Kremlin
Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer - stunning
Stalin actually blew up this Cathedral in 1931 (he was going to build a massive gothic palace - but never got around to it....) the rebuilding of the Cathedral started in 1995
Graveyard of Fallen Monuments - a collection of sculptures removed from around Moscow at the end of the Soviet Era (the park was really intersting!! tons to see)

Some fish egg flavoured crisps (chips) ewwww they smelled and tasted AWFUL!
Lamborghini store in central Moscow - nice!
There were Stalinist-Gothic skyscrapers all over the city!!! (this one houses Moscow State University) - I thought they looked like the buidling in Ghost Busters!

A shadowed view of the GUM and St. Basil's (thank goodness we got most of our pictures the first day since the second day was so overcast!)


Russian Food!

We actually found it REALLY hard to find a restaurant that served local food! So here are some pics from the one Russian meal we had in Moscow - had to at least try SOME of the local food!!

We tried both of the local drinks - Kvas (on left - a sweet mildly alcoholic drink made from Barley & Rye) and Mors (on right - a sweetened cranberry juice made by boiling fruit with sugar and water. (Murray preferred the Kvas - I liked the Mors)!

With a nice beer as well!
One of the most famous Russian foods - Borscht. A beetroot soup made with meat and served with sour cream and dill (it also seemed to have cabbage in it - quite nice actually)!
I liked the Borscht - finished my whole bowl!
Yummy - apparently it is a peasant dish which varies with the availability of ingredients
Garlic Bread (apparently...... more like burnt stale bread with garlic bits on it - NOT nice)!

Yummy pancakes parcels filled with mushrooms with cheese sauce - SO nice!!!
Some sort of cabbage pastry - but the dough tasted like a soft pretzel - I didn't like it
YUMMY pancakes! how cute is it too!
Chicken skew & yummy mashed potatoes with dill
Lovely berry dessert!

The Moscow Subway

The subway systems was a tourist site in itself - WOW gorgeous - they really went all out when decorating it!

Decoration in one of the subway stations

We eventually figured out how to get around by looking for symbols and counting the number of stops (just click on this photo for a larger view - WOW confusing!!)

Can you believe this is underground in a subway station? SO pretty!

Looks more like a palace!
Me in front of a massive station on the outskirts of the city
After days and days of walking we used the VERY long escalators to rest
And it was CHEAP! Around 65 cents in USD (35 pence) per journey (about a quarter of what a single journey would be in London).

The overnight train to St. Petersburg

We rushed around looking for the train to take us to St. Petersburg and made it JUST in time.

We were a bit worried when we came in and found seats not beds!!! Luckily Murray found a handy little latch and the beds folded down - LOVELY!

And some nice Russian beer to help us sleep!

The train was very nice and the beds were comfy - BUT we didn't get much sleep! The train left at midnight and we were so excited we were up for awhile looking out the window, finding the restroom, figuring out how to get the beds set up, just enjoying having our own cabin on a train, etc.

St. Petersburg

We arrived into St. Petersburg at 8pm on Monday morning and WOW were we exhausted! We slept on the train, but it was interrupted sleep due to the rocking of the train, and stopping at stations woke us up quite alot (and that was after 2 days on intense 12+ hour days of walking - so needless to say our feet were aching and we were both very TIRED!!)

When we arrived in St. Petersburg we didn't even know what station we were at. The sign didn't exactly clear things up for us!!

So we headed for the underground (subway) system and Murray took this photo.

Ten seconds later a guy jumped over the barriers and came up to Murray to say something angrily in Russian. Murray said 'sorry, English' and the guy did a HUGE eye roll and motioned for us to go to the side. We were FREAKING out (inside) and I thought that he was going to ask to see our passports which would require a bribe to get them back (we saw a lot of people get checked randomly in the Moscow subway system - thus why you are required to carry them at all times). So I took them out and showed them to him but he waved them away and shook his head no.

The then he had Murray sign this - and he pointed to a sign with a camera on it which had a line through it (that we hadn't noticed). Ohhhhhhhhhh no photos allowed (why - I do not know - it's not even nice like Moscow's system)! So he fined us (ended up only being only £4 thank goodness - can totally live with that)! We were so freaked out by the whole drama though that we left the station and went back to have some coffee and breakfast before going back to try again. (i just blacked out our surname on the ticket)

We finally decided to try walking as we were pretty much in central St. Petersburg

Apparently they even like Australian beer in Russia!

Me in front of the Church of Spilt Blood (also known as the Resurrection Church)

It is known as the Church of Spilled Blood because it was built on the spot where on 1 March 1881 Tsar Alexander II was assasinated.

It was REALLY stunning up close - much prettier than St. Basils.

Then we walked over to Petrogradskaya to see Peter and Paul's Fortress. (this is the entrance to the fortress called St. Peter's gate - the emblem is of St. George and the dragon).

Stunning view looking back on the Cathedral (St. Petersburg was very 'European' looking - we thought it looked a lot like a Scandanavian city)
view of the Baroque Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul from across the Bolshaya Neva river

Inside the fortress there was a display on medieval torture methods - so we went to check it out (Murray posing in his shoe covers next to a mask they made people wear for punishment for minor crimes to embasrass them in the community).
There was a LOT of shocking and sickening displays - this one was one of the worst (the actual saw was on display as well). They would hang a person upside down so the blood rushed to their head and kept them alive longer then would cut..... ewwww.
Pretty St. Petersburg

Statue on top the the General Staff Buildling in Palace Square

Me in front of The Hermitage

St. Isaac's Cathedral (one of the world's largest cathedrals)
There are 48 huge columns which weight 114 tonnes each
We climbed up to the top......
.....for an amazing view
It was a LONG walk back down though!
overall - Russia rocked! We had an amazing time, saw some stunning sights and had a brilliant time:)



At 3:53 PM, Blogger Heather said...

Wow! Amazing pictures! This makes me really excited to go there ourselves :)

At 1:00 PM, Blogger Suze - Manchester UK said...

Awesome awesome pictures - thanks for sharing them Mo!!
Can't wait to go there now!

Suze x

At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Mom said...

Your photographs are wonderful. Feel like I have been on the journey with you; the commentary was excellent, too. I never realized how beautiful it is there. Thanks. Love, Mom

At 10:56 PM, Blogger Evadiva said...

Mo, those pictures were wonderful..

Eva X


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