A lot has happened since I last wrote. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were an eyeopener and the rate of change since they have left the ranks of the Russian bloc is huge. Riga ( Capital of Latvia) in particular left me wanting to party and promenade for a lot longer, wonderful old decorative buildings, tree and fountain filled parks, cobbled streets, but mostly is was the vibrant people that made you want to stay a little bit longer.
Then to Belarus, still lingering in the past. An hour to register for a basic room, breakfast was charged for but nothing much on the menu was available so we had the special. One piece of dry bread, a small knob of butter and a thin slice of cheese, black coffee. The truck queue to leave was 3 km and took 5 days of waiting. We met drivers stocking up on water and vodka for the ordeal. They processed us and the bikes in two hours so not too bad, but paper-shuffling gone mad.
The ride into the Moscow ring road was an experience. Torrential rain, lightening, thunder, nose to tail huge trucks and racing black cars with tinted windows. The road was covered in water in parts, we were soaked through adrenaline pumped and terrified of a wrong decision as each millimeter was vital. We made it, glad to be in another big smoke safely. Moscow.
I’ve managed to have a stroll through the swankiest Shop complex in Moscow, “Goom” First opened in 1893 it has done the full circle of elite goods in the Czar’s time to dreary Soviet / communist offices and now to the glitzy name brands that I’ve seen in magazines, Dior, Nina Ricci, etc. I bought a coffee and cake for 400 Rubles, seemed a lot but it is $20 ish NZ dollars so was worth the prime viewing spot of all the beautiful folk. It is right by “Red Square”
Off to do the “Station Art” tomorrow. Had a preview and can’t wait. These are the decorations, art and sculptures in the Metro Stations.