A Travellerspoint blog

August 2019

Moscow to St Peterburg - 712kms

David gets 742.8kms of ammunition

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Steve takes the easy route

Given the condition of Steve's leg he made the decision to take the easy route and along with Anne booked himself a sleeper car on the Red Arrow from Moscow to St Petersburg. The train left Moscow just before midnight and rolled into St Petersburg just on 8am the next morning.

Courtesy of Wikipedia: The Red Arrow runs from Leningrad Station in Moscow to Moscow Station in Saint Petersburg. It started its first regular service on July 9, 1931, and has only been interrupted between 1941 and 1943 during the Siege of Leningrad. In 1962, the deep red colour of the train was adopted … The Red Arrow is the most popular train in Russia. In Soviet times the Communist Party elite were carried only by the Red Arrow between Moscow and Leningrad.


As we keep saying – It’s Russia

  • The train was down to leave from platform 3 which after much searching Steve and Anne were unable to locate – turns out that the platforms trains arrive on have even numbers for arriving trains and odd numbers for departing trains – that’s right the platform number changes – so their train was sitting on Platform 4 which suddenly became Platform 3 – IT’S RUSSIA
  • While searching for their train they were told to find the red one – it turned out that the locomotive was blue and the carriages red – IT’S RUSSIA
  • When they arrived at Moscow Station in St Petersburg they had a lot of trouble getting a taxi to take them to the hotel – after ¾’s of an hour they finally managed to get a ride only to have the price almost double – IT’S RUSSIA
  • The next morning they realised that the hotel was literally just around the corner from Moscow Station, so less than 5 minutes’ walk but due to St Petersburg’s one way streets and traffic some 1.3kms and 20 minutes by Taxi – IT’S RUSSIA

David rides it

In order to get Steves bike to St Petersburg Anne reached out to one of the local Motorcycle Clubs, Normandos MC Tver, and their president Andrey Filchenko kindly volunteered to take Steve’s bike to St Petersburg for us.


So the next morning Andrey catches the train to Moscow (180kms) and meets Steve and I. In light rain Andrey and I head out into the heavy Moscow traffic on our way to St Petersburg some 700+ kms down the road. (John had already departed as he was heading for Turku in Finland via St Petersburg to meet his shipping deadline).


The ride was pretty uneventful as far as the roads go, very heavy traffic meaning it took us pretty close to an hour to get 35-40kms out of Moscow onto the toll road. We stopped in Tver where we met up with another Normandos member, Victor Smirnov, who actually organised for Andrey to ride the bike for us. A quick visit to the Normandos club rooms for Andrey to pick up a warmer jacket, an exchange of gifts and to load a couple of bottle of the clubs special brew for Anne and we headed for St Petersburg.

The roads were pretty much multi-lane highway with central barrier with minimal places to stop. So much of the trip was done at a good rate of speed that was only curtailed when we passed a service station that had a sign indicating no fuel for 80 odd kms and my range was indicating a very similar number to empty. That 80 kms or so saw me continually checking both my range and fuel usage numbers – needless to say we crept into the service station with the fuel gauge flashing and range showing ---- (i.e. we were close to empty). This service station turned out to be another variant – no cash option, you took a guess and paid with a card and no change was given! – IT’S RUSSIA



The highlight of this leg is that I will forever be able to remind Steve that he came up 742.8kms short on riding across Russia!


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Moscow - Part VII - Other

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Some random shots from Moscow

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Moscow - Part VI - Alexander Garden / Aleksandrovskiy Sad

A place to relax

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While walking around the outside of the Kremlin I stumbled upon this park which abuts the Kremlin. It contained some very nice areas including lawn, gardens, statues and fountains - obviously very popular with both the locals and tourists. It also provided some good views across to the Kremlin.IMG_20190729_172725.jpgIMG_20190729_173146.jpgIMG_20190729_172909.jpgIMG_20190729_174417.jpgIMG_20190729_173437.jpgIMG_20190729_173358.jpgIMG_20190729_174331.jpgIMG_20190729_170324.jpgIMG_20190729_174028.jpgIMG_20190729_171346.jpgIMG_20190729_173023.jpgIMG_20190729_172544.jpgIMG_20190729_173030.jpgIMG_20190729_173027.jpgIMG_20190729_171339.jpgIMG_20190729_174452.jpgIMG_20190729_171349.jpgIMG_20190729_172157.jpgIMG_20190729_174054.jpg

Wikipedia says: Alexander Gardens was one of the first urban public parks in Moscow, Russia. The park comprises three separate gardens, which stretch along all the length of the western Kremlin wall for 865 metres (2,838 ft) between the building of the Moscow Manege and the Kremlin.

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Moscow - Part V - The Kremlin

Now this is an address!

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The Moscow Kremlin certainly has a presence. With its high red brick walls and towers taking a dominant position over Red Square.

From Wikipedia: The Moscow Kremlin, or simply the Kremlin, is a fortified complex in the center of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River to the south, Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square to the east, and the Alexander Garden to the west. It is the best known of the kremlins (Russian citadels) and includes five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers. In addition, within this complex is the Grand Kremlin Palace that was formerly the Tsar's Moscow residence. The complex now serves as the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation and as a museum with 2,746,405 visitors in 2017.

The name "Kremlin" means "fortress inside a city", and is often also used metonymically to refer to the government of the Russian Federation in a similar sense to how "White House" refers to the Executive Office of the President of the United States. It previously referred to the government of the Soviet Union (1922–1991) and its highest members (such as general secretaries, premiers, presidents, ministers, and commissars). The term "Kremlinology" refers to the study of Soviet and Russian politics.

As I lacked the time to be able to do an inside tour I decided to simply walk the just over 2.2kms around the exterior and followed the Kremlin Wall.

From Wikipedia: With an outer perimeter of 2,235 metres (7,333 ft), the Kremlin appears as a loose triangle, deviating from the geometric ideal on the southern side where instead of a straight line, it repeats the contours on the original hill on which the Kremlin rests. Because of this the vertical profile is by no means uniform, and the height at some places ranges from no more than 5 metres (16 ft) quadrupling to 19 metres (62 ft) elsewhere.[citation needed] The thickness of the walls also varies from 3.5 to 6.5 metres (11 to 21 ft).]

The top of the walls, along their entire length, have outwardly-invisible battle platforms which also range from 2 to 4.5 metres (6 ft 7 in to 14 ft 9 in) in width (in proportion to the thickness). A total of 1,045 double-horned notched "teeth" crown the top of the walls, with a height ranging from 2 to 2.5 metres (6 ft 7 in to 8 ft 2 in) and thickness from 65 to 75 centimetres (26 to 30 in).[10]

Below are some shots taken on my walk.


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Moscow - Part IV - Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed

St Basil's Cathedral

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It would be hard to say which is the foremost symbol of red square the towering Kremlin Walls and its towers or the almost, and I mean almost, fairy tale looking St Basil's Cathedral - there is just something about that too me is almost sinister.

Courtesy of Wikipedia: The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed commonly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral, is a church in Red Square in Moscow, Russia and is one of the most recognizable symbols of the country. The building, now a museum, is officially known as the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat or Pokrovsky Cathedral. It was built from 1555 to 1561 on orders from Ivan the Terrible and commemorates the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. It was the city's tallest building until the completion of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in 1600. The Saint Basil's Cathedral is not to be confused with the Moscow Kremlin.

The original building, known as Trinity Church and later Trinity Cathedral, contained eight churches arranged around a ninth, central church of Intercession; a tenth church was erected in 1588 over the grave of venerated local saint Vasily (Basil). In the 16th and 17th centuries, the church, perceived (as with all churches in Byzantine Christianity) as the earthly symbol of the Heavenly City, was popularly known as the "Jerusalem" and served as an allegory of the Jerusalem Temple in the annual Palm Sunday parade attended by the Patriarch of Moscow and the Tsar.

The building is shaped like the flame of a bonfire rising into the sky, a design that has no parallel in Russian architecture. Dmitry Shvidkovsky, in his book Russian Architecture and the West, states that "it is like no other Russian building. Nothing similar can be found in the entire millennium of Byzantine tradition from the fifth to the fifteenth century ... a strangeness that astonishes by its unexpectedness, complexity and dazzling interleaving of the manifold details of its design." The cathedral foreshadowed the climax of Russian national architecture in the 17th century.

As part of the program of state atheism, the church was confiscated from the Russian Orthodox community as part of the Soviet Union's anti-theist campaigns and has operated as a division of the State Historical Museum since 1928. It was completely secularized in 1929 and remains a federal property of the Russian Federation. The church has been part of the Moscow Kremlin and Red Square UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. It is not actually within the Kremlin, but often served as a visual metonym for Russia and the USSR in western media throughout the Cold War and to the modern day. Since 1997 weekly orthodox christian services with prayer to St. Basil restored in St. Basil church.


A couple of interesting things I was told are:
- Cathedrals were redesignated as Museums doing the early days of the Soviet era to protect them from demolition;
- Basil was originally perceived as a madman as he roamed Moscow stark naked. It was only after he started performing miracles by healing people and making prophesies such as one where he saw Nizhny Novgorod burning which subsequently happened that he became revered.

So along with Julia and Marsha I purchased a ticket and entered the maze that is St Basil's Cathedral via it's "crypts". Below are some photos from these areas:


The first floor was very intriguing with the central church and surrounding churches. There were a number of very old idols on display and the centre church alter and a couple of others were still in place.


Finally I'm not into this kind of music but a group of male singers, Doros Male Vocal Ensemble, were performing while we were in the building and the acoustics made it quite soul stirring. We sat and watched them perform a number which you can view here

Posted by Zamiam 00:40 Comments (2)

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