After a shitty long arsed haul via 4 countries i finally arrived in Moscow, in minus 23 degrees in December 2001. I had the worst ever itinerary, i’m sure the travel agent hated me, flew Brisbane-Port Moresby PNG-Singapore-Amsterdam-Moscow, about 600 hours hahaha. I arrived in what looked like a post apocalyptic war zone at Sheremetyevo International Airport, with barb wire and armed guards everywhere. Then having to walk about 300m on the icy tarmac into the shed that was apparently International Arrivals. I flew 4 hours from Amsterdam to Moscow with Aeroflot airlines with ashtrays and 70’s style decor, or lack of lol.
- Beer is a buck a can and is sold usually warm, so just stick the 500ml cans in the snow for 5 minutes.
- Public transport is dirt cheap and is via trams, busses or just hail a private vehicle passing by and negotiate a fare.
- Not many people speak English so choose whats LOOKS edible on menus.
- Vendors are parked in dilapidated dongas along the roads everywhere that sell 7/11 style needs, just everyone working in them looks miserable.
Moscow, on the Moskva River in western Russia, is the nation’s cosmopolitan capital. In its historic core is the Kremlin, a complex that’s home to the president and tsarist treasures in the Armoury. Outside its walls is Red Square, Russia’s symbolic center. It’s home to Lenin’s Mausoleum, the State Historical Museum’s comprehensive collection and St. Basil’s Cathedral, known for its colorful, onion-shaped domes.
The buildings in Moscow’s Kremlin can be divided into four different categories:
- Museums, historical building, and churches (entrance by tickets)
- Grand Kremlin Palace (tours on demand)
- State Kremlin Palace (entrance by tickets)
- President’s Residence and administrative buildings (closed to the public)
Over the centuries a handful of churches and monasteries have appeared on the Kremlin’s territory and formed the Cathedral Square. Today the square numbers six buildings, including three cathedrals.
Every monument in the Kremlin ensemble has a special role, but none is more prominent than the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael. It was built from 1505-08 as part of a construction campaign launched by Ivan III. Almost all Muscovite monarchs from Ivan Kalita to Ivan V have been laid to rest inside.
Yekaterinburg is a city in Russia, east of the Ural Mountains. It’s known for the golden-domed Church on the Blood, built in the early 21st century on the site of the 1918 Romanov executions. The Monument to the Founders stands by the banks of the Iset River. Exhibits at the nearby Sverdlovsk Regional Local Lore Museum include the Hall of the Romanovs, with personal items that belonged to the last royal family.
26 Hours on a train heading east from Moscow might sound like fun, but with the unregulated oil heating the temperature varies from 40 degrees to 5 degrees inside the cabins. These cabins were last renovated in about 1955, with four berths per cabin in double bunk format. As people get on and off the train the door slams every time someone new arrives or an existing passenger leaves, waking me up constantly. I tried to sleep in T shirt and shorts in the hot as fuck cabin, when i awake to breathing out fog an hour later because the temperature controls are non existent. I used to smoke back then, so i asked where the smoking area was in my summer attire, i was told to walk out THAT DOOR to smoke. So i opened THAT DOOR and to my surprise its the area between the carriages OUTSIDE where its minus 50 with wind chill, needless to say i took one drag of my smoke and promptly left.
Ice Sculptures in Ekaterinburg this is a contest and festival of ice sculptures “The Star of Bethlehem” has become a hallmark of Christmas Ekaterinburg. Participants come from different regions of Russia and neighboring countries. About 20 unique ice sculptures are displayed illuminated around the entrance of the cathedral.