Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wodka and sushi - The beginning

26 - 28 Oktober 2009
The trip to Moskou went smoother than i imagined. Even the passport check only took me 5 minutes to get through. My taxi was already waiting for me with my name on a sign. So off i went outside, expecting it to be freezing Russian style, dressed in all the layers i could find. But it wasn´t neccesary, the weather was just like in A’dam, just alot of rain! Outside the airport there were big potholes in the road, bigger that in Africa, i guess that´s why there were so many SUV´s.

The first thing i noticed along the highway was all the commercials and advertising, in the western alphabet more than the russian alphabet. Definitly different than when i was in st. Petersburg 18 years ago!

I arrived at Godzilla´s hostel at around 11 pm, a great place to stay, i would recommend it to everyone! Clean, friendly, convenient, all you need. I met my other group members, 12 in total, from all over the world: NZ, Australia, Ireland, Schotland, Germany and GB.

The next day our honcho (local tourguide) came to pick us up to go sightseeing. It´s raining outside, but not very cold. Moskou is a huge city, very busy, lots of traffic, big lighted commercial signs everywhere. All the women are wearing high-heeled boots and are dressed up even to go to the supermarket. I definitly don´t feel very attractive in my north-face outfit and funny hat!

The first place Masha (our honcho) takes us to is the grave of Lenin. I didn´t really know what to expect, definilty not the REAL body of Lenin! After handing in our bags at the entrance, Masha tells us the rules to enter the mausoleum: No standing still, no talking, no staring at Lenin, no hands in the pocket, no T-shirt saying: I ate at Mc. Lenin´s (this one is actually in the lonely planet). At the entrance one guard is already waiting for us wearing the standard, pretty impressive uniform of long dark gray coat, fur hat, black shiny boots and a straight face. He points us in the right direction with a nod of his head. The mausoleam is under ground, made of black marble, dimly lit, shaped like a ´W` and at every corner there´s a guard looking straight ahead, not making eye-contact. After turning a few corners, you can see Lenin lying there, like a maddame tussauds wax doll. Everything put together makes for a real surreal feeling, almost like an Efteling ride (for those who don’t know what that is, it’s a children’s fairy tale themepark, great fun for grownups). Outside again we wonder if we should go again, just for the thrill of it…

The rest of the day we spend seeing the Basilique, the Kremlin, the beautifully, yet very patriotic designed subways and a Russian art museum. At the end it´s just 4 of us left and our Honcho. We decide to have dinner at her house, consisting of Sushi (very popular in Moskou) and of course Wodka. Later in the evening, pretty drunk from the wodka, we stop a taxi on the road (which is actually just someone driving in their car hoping somebody needs a lift) and get back to our hostel. My first day of my trip has finally come to an end, and what a day!
Day 2 we spend going to a souvenir-flea-market and the Wodka Museum. After lunch, still very tired of the night before, we went back to the hostel to wait for our pick-up-bus to the train.

1 comment:

  1. He Saffron,

    Great strories, and recognizable train experiences I had as well in this country (Russia).
    By the way, Saint Nicolas left you a present in a shoe today. He wants to thank you for the singing.
    Say hello to Anki and have agreat time in Vietnam.

    Ciao Bellas,