Blogs from Moscow, Northwest, Russia, Europe

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Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow June 8th 2020

Like many of you, I have been impressed by the metro transit systems of cities around the world. Some of my favorites are London, Moscow, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. According to Travel Trivia, the best are: London, Seoul, Hong Kong NYC, and Tokyo (best). Moscow is missing? Here is an excerpt of what they said about Tokyo: The Tokyo Metro system is another that is widely regarded as best in class. Perhaps it is best known for its nearly inconceivable punctuality. In 2018, the service felt it had to release url=https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/05/the-amazing-psychology-of-japanese-train-stations/560822/an apology for a timing error. The issue? One of the trains had left the station an unforgivable 25 seconds early. This kind of precision is laughable to people who are used to other, less smoothly coordinated public ... read more
Red Square 103
Red Square 101

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow May 23rd 2020

The USSR was the first to send a satellite into orbit around the Earth on 4 October, 1957 with Sputnik 1 followed by Sputnik 2 on 3 November 1957 with Laika the dog onboard. So marked the start of the Space Age and the USA-USSR Space Race. The Americans were upstaged...their Vanguard satellite still in development...yikes...does that mean the Russians could carry a ballistic payload? On 31 January, 1958, the United States entered the Space Race when they launched their satellite Explorer I which discovered the magnetic radiation belts around the Earth. In July 1958, Congress passed the Space Act and on 1 October 1958 NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) was born . The USSR was first to send a man into space in 1961...pipped the U.S.A by about 3 weeks..."So close, yet so far" ... read more
Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Gagarin's 1961 Spacepod

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow October 22nd 2019

Leave it to "Travel Trivia" to come up with facts we do not know about Russia. Having crossed the entire country, from Vladivostok to Moscow, and on to St. Petersburg, I can tell you this is a big place. Perhaps most noticeable, particularly in the big cities, women outnumber men by a large percentage, only 87 men for every 100 women. Why? World War 2 was particularly devastating to Russia. But the real reason could be Russia's love affair with vodka! One in four men will die before their 55th birthday. This is among the highest mortality in the world. I can attest to this, as the big cities are teeming with women walking around in groups, old and young. Where are the guys? Most of the population lives in urban areas. With over six million ... read more
Moscow train station
Siberian winter
Russian girls

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow August 10th 2019

Days 13 to 16 of 80 Lenin - murderer, dictator, despot, and Rolls Royce owner Today we had an early start to queue for Lenin's Tomb, that is we were there around 8.10 for a 10 am open. We had seen the queues in previous days and decided we would rather spend our two hours of queuing at the front of the queue safe in the knowledge that we would be through and done by around 10.30, rather than join later with an indeterminate exit time. TripAdvisor reviews had shown that there is no mercy in just closing entry at 1 pm on the dot - the tomb is only open on 5 days a week, for 3 hours - whether or not there are people still in the queue who may have been there for ... read more
Ashes in the Kremlin wall
Stalin's memorial
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow August 8th 2019

Days 10 to 12 of 80 As we said in the last blog the Sapsan high speed train into Moscow arrived on time (1 minute early to be precise), but just to clarify ... on the journey Pip didn't see a bear, but lots and lots of trees, with isolated, wooden-hutted villages that went by so quickly that she failed to get a picture of a single one. Maybe she'll get the timing right sometime during our first three days on the Trans-Mongolian Express. In the meantime we came across a bronze bear statue in the city centre to satisfy Pip's ursine yearnings. See photo. Do bears s*** in the woods? We have lucked out on our hotel again, finding that it is barely 10 minutes walk from the Kremlin, Red Square and barely 10 to ... read more
Tomb of Unknown Soldier
GUM department store
Street off Red Square

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow July 15th 2019

It seemed, I discovered chatting to the Russian chap sat next to me on the high speed train from St Petersberg to Moscow, I'd inadvertently booked myself into the 'Premier Economy' carriage - snack included and would you like tea or coffee with that? All bought to your seat with no need to navigate to the buffet car with the riff raff. So yes, I had found the English language version of the Russian Railways website when booking my tickets, but the myriad of symbols for different classes and options, never mind the inference of the train number being high or low, or indeed whether the train had a name, was bewildering. If nothing else this trip will be a voyage of discovery as I find out exactly what I booked! I was also amused at ... read more
Cathedral Square
Around Moscow
Cathedral Square

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow September 22nd 2018

St. Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia. What gems it holds for its people and for us visitors! This tour has crammed in so many activities, museums, palaces, magnificent royal residences that I will definitely look to travel with Trafalgar again. To name only a few: we've been to the Hermitage, St. Isaac's Cathedral, summer and winter residences, everywhere that is listed as a highlight or as a must-see. On our last morning in St. Petersburg, before boarding the high speed train to Moscow, we took a boat cruise on the canals to get another perspective on the "Venice of the North." One very funny thing that happened while we were cruising was as our boat was ready to pass under one of the many canal bridges we saw a man standing in the middle ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow August 6th 2018

So my birthday did not finish as expected, President Putin did not send a undercover agent to pick me up for a meal in the Kremlin - I am sure it was because a major event was happening and he just could not spare the time in his busy top secret world. Anyway we decided to go to Gorky Park which to be honest was a BIG mistake I really did not want a birthday meal of eating a pizza or burger in a take-away (yes you guessed it Mike forgot to book a restaurant). Anyway we decided that we would walk back to the district named as Red October - yes that's correct Red October and no Sean Connery was not there waiting to wine and dine me for my birthday either (things are going ... read more
Kitai-Gorod Station
Dorogomilovo Station

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow August 5th 2018

So yesterday we saw so many things and were so blown away. Last night we went on a river boat. Now to give you some context whenever we go to a city and it has a river we always and really always take a river boat to see the sights and gain further information about the city we are staying in. Well all I can say is a Moscow river cruise is not like another river cruise I have ever and I mean ever taken before. We board the boat just like we always do. We go up top as you do and then all we hear is Sting, Rag and Bone Man etc any commentary on what we are passing i.e. the Kremlin NO just music - big lesson make sure any trip you make ... read more
Russian breakfast including caviar
Peter the Great

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow August 4th 2018

So it's day 2 in Moscow and we have a private tour booked - why are you having a private tour I can hear you ask! Well if you have ever been on a tour with me you will know the one person who asks so many questions and you are thinking not again!! Well that's me so that is why we have a private tour just to save everyone else the misery of another question. Before this we have booked breakfast in the hotel which is a novelty for us as I normally say no way let's eat like the locals. Anyway would you believe the breakfast room is situated around a fountain and that is not the best bit whilst eating your breakfast from an around the world buffet who walks out but a ... read more
Bolshoi Theatre
St Basil Cathedral
Stalin




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