A Travellerspoint blog

Russia

Central Moscow

Beautiful...but...

overcast 19 °C
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Arrived Moscow around 9.30 and caught Metro to hotel ($1.20 each). We procrastinated a lot about where to stay in Moscow, but ended up in the very centre next to Red Square. Chose Hotel Matreshka ($80 per night) which ultimately was a bad choice. Crappy tiny room and in very bad state.

Went out sightseeing all day. Moscow is very beautiful, but extremely crowded. Margaret loved everything, Mike not so convinced. Red Square district was over run with tour groups, and the square itself was not even visible due to some concert that was being televised.

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One particular highlight was a church, the Cathedral of Christ. Not so much for the church itself, but the amazing history. Read more...The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of Moscow: you will not believe its story

Our costs to date have been very low....Food is almost always around half Aust pirces for both fresh and restaurant food. Transport is extremely cheap at less than $1 for a ride on public transport. Hotels in the 3-4 star category have cost us $40-60 again around half Aust prices. Interestingly, many attractions to date have been free or just a few dollars. In Moscow everything is much more expensive and every single attraction costs a lot.

Discovered a great restaurant chain (Grabli), very popular and inexpensive buffet food (around $25 for two).

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First time we have vastly disagreed....so it's an average of star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png 4 star day.

Posted by MikeinCairns 13:19 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Train 025 to Moscow

Farwell to Kazan, for our last leg of the Trans Siberian

semi-overcast 20 °C

Caught the bus out to Church of All Regions (20 minutes), a kind of artistic project, and spirital centre started by one local guy.

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Returned to town and had a long lunch back at the Uzbecki restaurant. As mentioned in an earlier blog, some of the best food in Russia comes from the ex-Soviet states. Uzbek and Georgian are particularly popular. Central Asian food is heavy on the meat but also has a lot of delicious soups and desserts.

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Spent the day wanding around parts of Kazan we had not seen the day before, including the river front (Volga River).

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Off to the station for a 10pm departure to Moscow on train 025. It was the best train we have caught to date. A double-decker sleeper, very modern with all facilites. It even had a little kitchen with an urn, microwave and sink to wash up.

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Just a wandering around star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png 4 star day.

Posted by MikeinCairns 13:18 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Kazan

Kazan by night

semi-overcast 24 °C
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Relaxed at the hotel most of the day catching up on emails, blogging, planning the journey. Had brunch at a quaint French place around the corner ($15 for two). It served traditional Tartar food in a French style.

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Went back to the Kremlin for some night photos

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And finally to the amazing Palace of Agriculture (read more here). It could be 200 years old but was in fact built in 2010!

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A rejuvinating star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png 4 star day.

Posted by MikeinCairns 14:30 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Train 377 - across the Urals

Ekatarinberg to Kazan, across the Urals into European Russia

semi-overcast 25 °C
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This train was truely bad (are they getting worse as we travel West?). The train was so old I think Lenin himself could have travelled on it. And we had the students again as attendants so it wasn't real clean. We crossed the Urals into European Russia sometime in the middle of the night. Also went through another two time zones. Despite that we had a long sleep, waking at 11am!

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Arrived into Kazan around lunch time. Our Hotel was accross the road from the railway ($43 per night). Verry odd facade.

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View from our window (not my photo)

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This is the capital of Tartarstan a region dominated by the Tartars (traditionally muslims related to Turks). They have a unique culture, dress, achitecture and food. What an amazing place!

First stop - the Kazan Kremlin (there are many Kremlins in Russia - it simply means a fortified walled city)

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And some general wandering around town

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Had a great dinner at an Uzbeki restaurant ($30 for two).

A cultural star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png 5 star day.

Posted by MikeinCairns 14:06 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

The bloody saga continues

Forest outside Ekatarinberg

semi-overcast 25 °C
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To continue the Romonov saga, we caught the metro and bus to the forest location where the bodies were dumped. In the 1990's, when the bodies were removed, the area was developed into a major shrine for Orthodox pilgrims (the Romanovs were canonized as saints after the fall of soviet union). A large complex of churches and monestry were built in the forest.

The location in the forst was really peaceful and well done. We spent 2 hours there.

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On a recommendation from the internet we then caught three buses to a large cemetery where Russian mafia characters were buried and had built huge life size head stones and elaborate graves. It was not that interesting unless you know the characters.

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On the way to the station we found a huge shopping complex which had a food court. Sushi ($3) and home made hamburger ($3) for dinner. Then off to the train station again.

A spiritual star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png 4 star day.

Posted by MikeinCairns 09:10 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

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