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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Russia - 7 September, 2003

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Moscow (Ararat Park Hyatt Hotel) N5545.606' E03737.277' 169 meters .
-  Izmaylovskaya Park . . . .
-  Tour metro stations . . . .
-  Tour city . . . .
Finish Moscow (Ararat Park Hyatt Hotel) N5545.606' E03737.277' 169 meters .

Total (by train):

13,496 km

Total (Mongolia):

2,880 km

Total (Kamchatka):

1,339 km

Total (other):

1,157 km

Total:

18,872 km

 

Weather: Partly cloudy, sunny and cool/warm.  Cool in the evening.

 

 

We have a bit of an exciting morning at the Hyatt - just as we are starting to get ready, the fire alarm goes off.  As the alarm carries on and no announcements are made, we begin to prepare to leave the room.  We see a number of people heading out in their bathrobes and standing around on the street in front of the hotel.  But just as we are about to head out ourselves in our bathrobes and are waiting for the elevator, the alarm stops sounding.  So, back to our room for breakfast and to get ready.

 

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Our first goal of the day is the Izmaylovo Market, outside of Moscow.  We have to take the metro to get there, so we head off to the Ploshchad Revolyutsii station.  Moscow's metro is famous for it's beautiful and artistic stations.  This station's main hall is lined with marble arches, flanked by bronze "revolutionary" fugues, such as red guards, workers, sailors, etc.  We board line 3 and first head west, towards Kievskaya station to take some pictures of that station.  This station has mosaics showing the agricultural "abundances" that the Ukraine produced during the Soviet days - a bit of Soviet propaganda that ignored the forced collectivisation leading to massive famines that resulted in the deaths of millions.

 

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After we had taken a look at the station, we caught the next train that came through and headed back east to the Izmaylovkiy Park station.  From here, we walk the short way to the market.  They charge a nominal fee to enter and then we spend the next few hours wandering around all the stalls scattered throughout the market.  They sell all types of souvenirs and other things. They even have a small section full of Persian carpet dealers - just like when we were at the Sunday market in Ashgabat.

 

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After looking at thousands of matryoshka dolls, shawls, lacquer ware, Gzhel ceramics, Soviet memorabilia, we decide to have some lunch.  We find some vendors selling Central Asian food and sit in a smoky, stuffy room and eat our small plates of over priced food.

 

It is now 4 PM and time to head back, so we return to the station and catch line 3 back into the city.  Along the way we stop at a couple of stations to take a look at the halls and how they are decorated.  Once back in the city we make a quick stop at the hotel to drop off our purchases.

 

From the hotel we walk up to the Yeliseev Food Hall to check out both the wide selection of food and drink on display and the pre-Revolutionary decoration.  But it was closed for renovation.  So, we decide to check out another famous food shop famous for its confectionary.  We hop on the metro, taking line 2 under the river to the Novokuznetskaya station.  We walk the short distance to the shop, only to be disappointed that it seems to have changed management and has been converted into an ordinary mini-market.

 

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So, we decide to spend the rest of the afternoon wandering around this part of town as we make our way back to our hotel.  We walk for a ways along the river and get a good look at one of the old Stalinist buildings, and then head back.  We cross over the river on a bridge with an excellent view towards the Kremlin.  As Red Square is blocked off, we have to head a longer way around to get back to our hotel.  Security is very tight.  We have pass through countless security check points that have clearly been set up to provide a defense in depth.  We have to pass through metal detectors and have our bags hand searched.  We try to find ways to minimise the searches - they are slow and often have long lines of people.

 

At one point we run into a bit of a roadblock.  Security guards will not let us take a certain route to the hotel.  In the end, we just act like dumb tourists, flash our room key and push our way through.  Then we end up at the square near our hotel.  It has been totally blocked off and we are looking a bit conspicuous wandering through there.  We reach a police line and they seem a bit surprised that we have approached from this direction.  But we point at our hotel, continue to act like dumb tourists and they let us through.

 

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Safely back in our hotel, after heading up to the top of the hotel to check out the Moscow skyline, we wash up and then head out for dinner.  The hotel has recommended a local Russian restaurant, so we decide to head there.  It is within walking distance, so we walk there.  The streets are surprisingly empty - certainly no cars as the streets have bee blocked off for the weekend.

 

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The restaurant - called Kitezh - turns out to be very nice.  Great decor, friendly staff, good food and reasonable prices.  We have a very enjoyable meal and then head back to our hotel, taking a slow walk through the streets, which are still very empty.  We get back to the hotel around midnight and head off to sleep.

 

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