Monday, June 18, 2012

Eurotrip 2012 - Day 4 (6/18) - Last Day in Moscow

We were up around 9:30, and lounged around until I realized that breakfast ended at 10 on weekdays. I made this realization at 9:57, and we rushed up to the 8th floor, scarfed down some food, and were back in the room at 10:11. We then got dressed and lounged around a bit before checking out 15 minutes before the noon deadline. We were able to stow our big bags there and head out for a day of activities - our train didn't leave until 11:40 that night.

Our original plan for the day involved a couple of museums, but it turns out that there are no museums open on Mondays in Moscow...FAIL. So we decided to try to go to the Kremlin Armoury for real. We took the metro down there and were at the ticket counter around 12:45. The lady said that there were currently no tickets and to return at 1:45 when the next batch of tickets (for the 2:30 entrance) would go on sale. A bit annoyed, we needed to find a way to kill an hour. We strolled over to GUM, then by St. Basil's, and then the Kremlin tombs, before heading back to the ticket building. There was a long line this time (almost as long as the day before), and we joined the end around 1:40. It took us about 20 or 25 minutes to get through the line, and when we got up to the counter the lady informed us yet again that there were no more tickets for the Armoury. This being the third strike, we gave up on trying to get in there...more FAIL.

After a bit of discussion and indecision, we eventually settled on checking out the All-Russian Exhibition Centre (VVTs). We took the metro up there (the VDNKh stop) and walked over to the VVTs. It was kind of like a toned down theme park, but you didn't have to pay to get into the main section, where there weren't really any rides - though I'm not sure if you had to pay for the other sections. We also got some crepes (I had 1 ham & cheese and 1 chicken & gravy) for late lunch, which I followed with an ice cream cone. After about an hour, we headed back toward the metro, with a stop at the Memorial Museum of Astronautics (which was closed) for some pictures outside of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space.

We took the metro down to Kitay Gorod and walked through the area toward Red Square. We stopped in at GUM yet again in search of milkshakes, but were unsuccessful in our quest. Next we walked to the Bolshoy Theater and took a couple of pictures. Then we walked back to the square, where Joe and I parted ways for a bit. He took the metro back to the hotel to rest his feet, while I decided to walk the scenic route back and meet him there in a couple of hours (around 8).

I first crossed the bridge over the Moskva River, where I got a few good shots of the Kremlin. I next swung by the Tretyakov Gallery just to check out the building (since it was closed), but finding it uninspiring from the back I abandoned that plan and instead walked the opposite direction along the river toward the Monument to Peter I (Peter the Great). After snapping a few pics, I crossed into the Socialist Sculpture Park (a collection of abandoned statues) to take some more. From there I walked by the New Tretyakov Gallery and toward Gorky Park, then cut across down the street to the hotel, where I beat the meeting time by a few minutes, but with aching feet.

After lounging in the hotel lobby for a little over an hour, we left around 9:15 for the train station. We were at the station before 10, and stopped in a cafe to have some pierogies for dinner. After eating we made our way to the train, mostly due to Joe asking people for directions, and boarded about 15 minutes before the train departed at 11:40. Joe and I shared a 4-bed compartment with a Russian mother and daughter; although we communicated with them very little, they seemed pretty nice. Unfortunately, none of us except Joe (who brought earplugs) was able to get great sleep during the 9 hour ride to St. Petersburg because of some loud rattling going on in our compartment.

Observation of the day: Muscovites apparently really enjoy roller blading. I saw more rollerbladers there (especially at the park) than any other place I had been.

Bonus observation: The metro system in Moscow is pretty great, for several reasons. The trains come every 2 minutes. There are some really beautiful stations. There are some really long escalators (that take 2 minutes to ride) - though this ends up being not necessarily a great thing after a while. And the tunnels double as methods of crossing their really wide (and busy streets).

Bonus observation #2: Joe is a gentlemanly fella. For example, he helped some lady carry her bag up the stairs while walking in the metro tunnels today. He does this kind of stuff fairly frequently.

1 comment:

  1. See, if Joe tried to carry my bag (let's pretend I'm a woman), I'd probably assume he was trying to steal my bag and mace him. Prediction: Joe get's maced before the trip is over.

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