Trip Start Mar 25, 2007
72Trip End Feb 16, 2008
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The next day we headed into the centre of town, to see Red Square etc, however Red Square was closed because of the threat of protest. We did our best to walk around it but the copious amounts of police made sure we kept moving
That afternoon we visited a museum dedicated to the Gulag (forced labour camps), which wasn't great, then that evening we headed back to Red Square which was now open.
The next day we headed straight for the Kremlin, which is huge in area. You aren't allowed into the government area - they are still security paranoid! We went into a couple of the major churches. There is so much detail in the pictures and so much gold in the church. The priests also treated as to a quick hymn which was really really beautiful - they had such amazing voices!
The next day we headed off to Star City, the Russian training centre for the cosmonauts. It was the home of the first man in space. Our guide was fantastic, he was a retired Lieutenant Colonel, who had done a lot of the training with the cosmonauts and had developed a lot of the training with G forces. The whole thing was very interesting and our guide had a sense of humour - the first time we'd encountered that in Russia
That night we caught the overnight train to Pskov, the train didn't have any air conditioning and as a result it was about 40 degrees. Of course this meant we stayed in the bar where there were at least some windows. There we met some friendly Russians* who insisted on buying us Whiskey (they didn't drink Vodka!) and Hamish and Bryce tried their first caviar. I gave it a miss based on their reactions! So we made it to Pskov, knackered, a little hungover but in 1 piece!
*Hamish's foot note. "Friendly Russians" means big hairy ex military Russians. It was impossible to refuse drinks from these guys who were shovelling beer and whiskey down Bryce and my neck at a suicidal rate. Turned out they were only on the train for 4 hours so they left and I passed out in the dining carriage. Katie got the honour of carrying me to bed.......
Moral of the story... If you see a big hairy Russian run away...