Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm going to start a travel blog..... or I'll bore you here when ever the urge grabs me so a little about Russia today!.

   Amazing St Basil's Cathedral,  Moscow.

I read today where Russia has sent 3 astronauts up to the space station on a rocket from Kazakhstan.

  A Russian ship, Sparta  taking in water in the Antarctic  Waters with 14 crew on board after it hit an iceberg.
  That got me thinking about my trip through Russia way back in 1996.

  I was on a coach tour  that happened to have heaps of other Aussies too.   There were 42 of us and we all got on so well considering it was a 19 day tour and there were about 8 different nationalities.  To actually  be traveling into Russia was a life long dream come true.

There was a little drama at the Belarus / Russian border but after an hour we got through.  "No camera, no camera"  we told by the border guards but I took a few sneaky ones!
The toilet???  was a shed with a cement floor!  The main entry point into the country and there you had the most smelliest toilet I ever, ever encountered.There was a toilet on the bus but we were not encouraged to use it. The driver and the tour guide/assistant were lazy as...  The bus did not get cleaned at all on the whole trip!  A little sweep would have been nice to get rid of the grit from our traipsing in and out.

The country was mainly flat with lots of birch forests.  We stopped at a road side type of cafe so I asked for a coffee with milk and sugar, please. They bring me in a lukewarm coffee in a hugely cracked cup without the milk. I nicely asked for the milk so they went away and came back with some warm milk in a glass.  It made the coffee taste a little different but I thought it was all about the experience. It cost $US 1.00.    On our way out we see a nanny goat with her udder full of milk tied up near her shelter.  Ah ha!!! I know where the milk came from that made the coffee taste funny.
  We all had a good laugh and jumped on the bus for the next adventure.

I loved the old buildings and I loved the weird and wonderful homes being built by the newly rich. One was like a small fairy tale castle with turrets.   I loved the village made from logs.  I love the ladies who look after the places we visited who would charge you if you wanted to take a picture or boss you around.  The grave yards with the trees growing through the little grave fences.
Red Square

We were in Moscow when Bill Clinton  then US president was there and we watched the motorcade drive by to Red Square. The public wasn't allowed in so we had to walk bloody miles around the Kremlin complex,  through muddy footpath repairs to get to the pre-arranged, Chinese restaurant for lunch.  This was where I forgot to get my lovely red umbrella from the back of my chair!

I saw Lenin lying in a casket in his special little building in Red Square.  He looks as though he is made of wax!

One day, we just happened across a small parade  that only happens once a year to commemorate the dead.    The beautiful robes of the priests  were in sharp contrast to the dark attire of the grieving. How lucky to be there at just that time?
  I loved the Moscow Rail Stations with their ornamental ceilings and art work.  I'm not sure how many levels there are with these huge, long escalators from level to level.

I bought a signed sketch at an art gallery that  just happened to have the artist there that day!  I also bought a brand new Russian military/police  leather bag.  I later saw a policeman using one write out a ticket for some traffic violation.
I was chuffed over that!   Not the poor fellow getting a ticket but me being able to buy this bag.