Moscow Journals

Around the World in 80 Ways, Moscow

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A June 2005 trip to Moscow by 80 Ways Tim

Whiskey in the Jar Photo, Moscow, Russia More Photos
Quote: Travelling the world in seven weeks using eighty different methods of transport is my goal - www.80ways.co.uk.

Moscow City Cops

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A Digger in Moscow Photo, Moscow, Russia
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It’s raining in Moscow, and it’s putting a real downer on things. The Kremlin just isn’t as exciting as it should be, and our first impression of Russia is not what we’d hoped. A quick piggy-back ride past St Basil’s Cathedral, and we marched off again through the rain. I decided to save weight by not bringing a waterproof (inspiration that Thom is no doubt thankful he didn’t receive), and thus my hoodie is getting damper by the minute. We’re heading south and decide our route would be far nicer if we could walk through some of gardens surrounding the Kremlin. Lining the streets are some dodgy-looking military characters. Clothed in long, dark ponchos, with their hoods up and their hea...Read More

The Day We Caught The Train

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Beijing - Ulan-Bataar Photo, Moscow, Russia
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Following Thom’s lead, I had decided to get a haircut—a shaved head, no less. Our Rough Guide listed a place with English-speaking staff that might help to avoid embarrassing mistakes. We set about finding it, suffering from the usual problem of trying to read road signs in Cyrillic. A hairdresser’s came into view, but soon after walking through the door, I realised it wasn’t the international haven I was hoping for. No problem—I only wanted a grade 3. The options, however, were 3mm, 6mm, or 12mm. Now, I thought that ‘mm’ might correspond to grade, but I also didn’t want to get the shortest one. The 12mm sounded like a lot of hair, so I opted for the middle ground—6mm. It was shorter than...Read More

A Quiet Little Mongolian Girl

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-Smuggler Not Shown- Photo, Moscow, Russia
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The train was just like any other and the cabin pretty standard, but somehow, to both of us, it was the most exciting place in the world. Grinning so much that my cheeks ached, I had the distinct feeling that our journey was officially underway. Thom’s "end of the beginning idea" might sound a little melodramatic, but that’s just how it felt. The Trans-Siberian (or Trans-Mongolian actually) was the only leg of the journey that we had really booked in advance and one of the very few parts that we had always been resolute about. I had personally been looking forward to it for months, if only because it would give an enforced opportunity to relax. No rushing around; no need to do anything du...Read More

Bring & Imbibe

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Whiskey in the Jar Photo, Moscow, Russia
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Before we left, my mum organised a 'Bring & Buy' sale to raise funds for the trip. The idea was to sell enough junk to pay for our Trans-Siberian railway tickets. Friends and family gave vast quantities of goods for sale at the event, displaying both the level of generosity they had and the amount of rubbish they kept. That day, we filled out a church hall with books, CDs, games, clothes, cakes, and general junk ranging from garden gnomes to hairclips, crockery to a wheelchair. Unfortunately, what we were lacking were customers, so I took it upon myself to wander the streets of Esher, carrying cakes baked by mum in an attempt to draw customers. The greedy pedestrians soon devoured the first ...Read More

Moscow (by Martin Cruz-Smith)

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Sitting in my flat, planning our route around the world, there were two destinations I couldn't wait to lay my eyes on: China and Moscow. I'd heard so much about Russia, and since reading Martin Cruz-Smith's Gorky Park, I'd become a big fan of the Soviet Union, so I was anxious to get to Moscow. Moscow has the biggest population of any European city and boasts plenty of cool sites. The most obvious one is probably the The Kremlin, a big Russian citadel in the centre of town where the President hangs out. In its centre is Red Square (also the title of a Martin Cruz-Smith novel), which is surrounded by Lenin's Mausoleum, the luxurious GUM Department Store...Read More