March 10th, 2012
It is Saturday evening and I find myself in Berlin. I have been firing out these blog entries hand over fist that last few days. I don’t like to write this many entries this often – and those of you who subscribe to the blog are probably sick of e-mail notifications. Unfortunately it is necessary for me to try and keep up with all that is happening. So tonight I’m going to quickly type up a blurb about Moscow and I’ll write up my experiences in Berlin in a few days.
One thing I would like to mention about the trans-siberian train into Moscow that I forgot is the absolutely unforgettable experience of throwing back a vodka shot toasting the health of newly re-elected President Putin with two Russian gentlemen. How often does something like that happen?!
So Moscow. Hmmm Moscow. I don’t have a lot to say about it. For one thing, it was cold. Very cold. I was also trying to mentally recuperate from my long train ride so I found I was content to surf the internet – glorying in being re-connected to the world – instead of furious sightseeing. I did notice that food was indeed expensive in Moscow – though not quite as bad as I had expected. In Irkutsk I met a Brit who told me it was outrageously expensive and I had prepared myself for the worst.
One my first day in Moscow I hunted down a McDonalds to try the world’s most expensive Big Mac (it tasted exactly like every other Big Mac I’ve ever had, which is to say, satisfyingly delicious). Day two was my major sightseeing day. Moscow was a few degrees warmer than Irkutsk, but it is a windy place. The wind easily made it feel 10 degrees cooler than the actual temperature. My Canadian tolerance of cold weather was put to the test, certainly, but I found it equal to the challenge. I started by walking towards the Red Square and Kremlin building. When I arrived at my destination I wandered fora bit, taking in the interesting architecture. There were statues and memorials of all kinds littering the area.
One thing I have noticed while travelling is that I greatly enjoy seeing places in person that I have visited in books, movies or video games. In Hong Kong I couldn’t get enough of looking at the two towers that Batman glides between in ‘Dark Knight’, and I loved seeing the floating restaurants and ‘The Peak’ that figure prominently in ‘Tai-Pan’ and ‘Noble House’ novels. Red Square gave me another jolt of recognition as I realized I had already visited it in the videogame ‘Ghost Recon’. Indeed as I walked through the area I couldn’t help but think; ‘Yeah, that’s the corner that I had to sneak my squad around, and right here is where the first tank was sitting’ etc, etc… The Kremlin was really impressive – an old style white and gold building surrounded by a huge red brick wall. I also saw the Lenin Mausoleum (where on certain days you can go and see Lennin’s preserved corpse) but it was closed.
I wandered this tourist heavy location for a while and took some video and pictures of the Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral. Afterwards I walked south and followed the river down to the Church of Christ the Savior – a beautiful and massive white and gold church just minutes from the Kremlin. Next I meandered back in the direction of my hostel, stopping for a coffee and some people watch, of course.
This morning I woke up early and caught a flight to Berlin, where I have been doing some light sightseeing (discovering several more places I have murdered my way through in videogames) and I will post my impressions and adventures in Berlin in a few days.
That’s all for now!