A Travellerspoint blog

Moscow Days 1 & 2


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Moscow day 1

Once I had arrived, phoned home and taken a quick shower, I headed out to explore. I took the metro up to the station close to the Kremlin. After walking across Red Square I walked right around the Kremlin wall. I had hoped to go into Lenin’s mausoleum but it was closed on Fridays so I went into St. Basils Cathedral instead.
As I was standing outside the cathedral the police by the Tower next to me started moving people away from the area in front of me. A cavalcade of cars including both police and army vehicles came up from the direction of the river. In the middle of the cavalcade was a large Mercedes with the flag of the Russian president flying on the front. As the windows were very dark I could not see if it was Putin inside.
After this excitement!! I went into St. Basils. This is the first Russian Orthodox cathedral I have visited and it was interesting to see the differences compared to Catholic churches. As I was tired from the previous few nights lack of sleep I headed back to the hotel for an early night.

Moscow day 2

Today I planned to visit the Kremlin and 2 of the museums next to it. I got to Red Square at 9.00 and spent the first 30 minutes taking photos around the square and on the monument of the unknown soldier. As I was walking back up to the square there was a group of people with communist banners and a large red wreath. Today was the anniversary of the death of Stalin and they were heading to his grave to pay their respects.
At 9.30 I joined the queue to visit the mausoleum when it opened at 10.00, I was the 4th person in the line. At 9.55 another large group of people arrived to pay their respects and the opening time was moved to 10.30. When we were finally allowed in and after passing through a security check I walked alongside the wall and past the various graves of people buried behind the mausoleum. Entering the mausoleum, I descended down a flight of stairs and entered the central chamber. Lenin lies in a glass Sarcophagus facing Red Square. You have to walk through in silence and not stop.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c4/Lenin-mausoleum.jpg

Next I went into the Kremlin and visited the Cathedrals complex. The best 2 were the Assumption and the Archangel’s Cathedrals. The first is where the Tsars were crowned and the latter is where many of them are buried. Just to be inside the Kremlin complex is something I find amazing, when I was growing up during the Cold War, the Kremlin was the place where a real world war could have been authorized and the name alone was a point for mistrust and fear.
After lunch I visited first the 1812 Museum and then the State Museum. Out of the 2 I enjoyed the 1812 more as it is a subject that I find interesting. The displays covered the build up to the invasion, including the Battle of Austerlitz. The State Museum had a vast collection covering much of Russian history.

Posted by stephen_dann 09:35 Archived in Russia Comments (2)

Onwards to Moscow


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Warsaw station.

After passing through most of the way through Poland the train made it to Warsaw. This was the last stop in the EU. The next stop will be Brest in Belarus where the bogies on the train are changed over to the Russian track gauge. This will also be where the Belarus password control and customs takes place.

Polish / Belarus border

At the border first the Polish border guards got on the train and checked everyone’s paperwork, this included making sure we all had Belarus visas. Apparently if you enter Belarus without a visa you will be arrested and can spent time in jail whilst they decide what to do with you. The couple that I was sharing the cabin on the train had had their passports stolen in Germany and the replacement paperwork from their country, Chechnya, did not show their visas. This meant they had to get off the train and remain behind whilst the Polish checked into their status.

After this the train moved forward 500 meters into Belarus. Here their border guards and customs officers got on. The border guard asked me if I was flying home from Moscow, I said no I am leaving Russia from Vladivostok. He replied that I was nutty and found it very funny when I agreed.
Once all this had been completed the train went into a large shed where each carriage was jacked up and the train bogies changed to suit the Russian gauge which is 85mm wider. We then started the journey through Belarus. After a quick meal I went to bed. However, as the rail track were the most uncomfortable of the whole trip it was not a solid night’s sleep.

When I awoke in the morning we had already crossed the border into Russia and were pulling into Smolensk station. This was a place I was looking forward to seeing, abet from the train window as the battles in 1812 and 1941 are of interest.

As the train got closer to Moscow we passed through the town of Borodino and the fields were both the 1812 battle of the same name took place and the 1941 attack by the Germans as part of the battle of Moscow.

A couple of hours later the train pulled into Moscow. I had a car booked and was in my hotel room an hour after getting of the train.

Posted by stephen_dann 08:36 Archived in Belarus Comments (0)

Overnight in Germany

and into Poland


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Late last night after stopping at Strasburg the train crossed over the border with Germany. After some sleep I awoke just before we stopped in Berlin at 07.15. 2 hours later the train entered Poland, and I am now in the 1st new country on my trip.

Sleeping in a bunk on a moving train is interesting, with both the train noise and the bumps and changes of direction helping to keep you awake. The track was noticeably smother in Germany compared to France, with a lot fewer sets of points to cross.

As for Poland, most of what I have seen so far is flat fields and lots of trees. The restaurant car is Polish and I decided to have meat and dumpling soup for breakfast. Very nice and very filling.

Also instead of describing this as a trip around the world I have decided to start saying it is a trip to Barming Station as this is where I am going to end up.

Posted by stephen_dann 01:01 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

My around the world itinerary


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Day No Date Day Location + gmt
1 01-Mar Tuesday barming london
2 02-Mar Wednesday St Pancras 9.17
Paris Gare de l'Est depart: 18:58  Wed 1
 Strasbourg depart: 23:25  Wed 1
3 03-Mar Thursday  Berlin Hbf arrive: 07:08  Thur 1
 Berlin Hbf depart: 07:13  Thur 1
 Warsaw Centralna arrive: 13:35  Thur 2
 Warsaw Centralna depart: 13:40  Thur 2
 Brest arrive (2 hour stop): 19:50  Thur 2
4 04-Mar Friday  Minsk arrive: 01:39  Fri 2
 Moscow Belorussky arrive: 10:10  Fri 3
5 05-Mar Saturday moscow
6 06-Mar Sunday moscow
7 07-Mar Monday Moscow Yaroslavski station 13:20 day 1
Nizhni Novgorod 20:17 day 1
8 08-Mar Tuesday Perm 2 09:55 day 2 5
Yekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk) 15:39 day 2 5
9 09-Mar Wednesday Omsk 03:30 day 3 6
Novosibirsk 11:32 day 3 6
Krasnoyarsk 23:03 day 3 7
10 10-Mar Thursday Irkutsk - arrive 15:57 day 4 8
Irkutsk - depart 16:20 day 4
Ulan Ude 23:18 day 4 8
11 11-Mar Friday train
12 12-Mar Saturday train
13 13-Mar Sunday Khabarovsk 00:25 day 7 10
Vladivostok 13.10 10
14 14-Mar Monday vladavostok
15 15-Mar Tuesday vladavostok tokyo flight
16 16-Mar Wednesday tokyo 9
17 17-Mar Thursday tokyo kyoto 9
18 18-Mar Friday tokyo 9
19 19-Mar Saturday tokyo
20 20-Mar Sunday tokyo 9
21 21-Mar Monday tokyo 9
22 22-Mar Tuesday tokyo 9
23 23-Mar Wednesday seatle -8
24 24-Mar Thursday -8
25 25-Mar Friday seatle san fran -8
26 26-Mar Saturday san fran -8
27 27-Mar Sunday
28 28-Mar Monday
29 29-Mar Tuesday nyc -5
30 30-Mar Wednesday nyc -5
31 31-Mar Thursday nyc -5
32 01-Apr Friday nyc -5
33 02-Apr Saturday home
34 03-Apr Sunday

Posted by stephen_dann 12:55 Comments (0)

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