Thursday, September 28, 2006

Colaboard OverBottle!

And if you understand the name of this post then you must be none other than "Mix Master" Mike F! Howdy boy.. all is good in the Wah Hood!

Greetings to the rest of you... special mention to Taryne... the chef I met at Santorini on my birthday!

If you are interested in hearing my birthday audio blog then jump on over to girlclumsy's site and look for the one labelled "Birthday Blog"

Wow.. Greek Islands... wow.. Mykonos, Paros, Ios and Santorini. Each island different to the last.

Mykonos is the touristy island with much tourist tack to look at.. and it was a full time job holding back girlclumsy ;). It also has fabulous resorts to stay in (with prices to match).. much swimming and surf-skiing to be done. The main town had windmills and churched and crazy streets used to stop pirates in the past

Paros is the quiet island with large hills to climb (at the top a monastry!). The rooms we stayed in were a little crap but Mix Master Mike aided ventilation by punching a hole right through the front door.. shine on you crazy scouser diamond! There were also cheap eats to be had here. I now eat tomato! But i prefer it to be drowned in Tzatziki sauce. We wandered the crazy lanes (also anti pirates) and found all sorts of weird and wonderful shops.... and found another EVEN BETTER shop that sold the hallowed ONE EURO GYROS! sweet! any day you can buy a vege-kebab for 1 Euro is a good day indeed.

Ios is the party island... cheap rooms (that were beautiful) and cheap food, free entry into the night clubs and cheap cheap drinks.. $3 for two cocktails and a peach shnapped shooter... good gods I was absolutely leathered by the end of that night! I even had a flaming Lamborgini.. this is a cocktail that is basically on fire. And dont forget the lay-backs we all did.. including girlclumsy. We had to walk home in the dark down a 'goat track'.. Im sure goats can handle such a vertical walk but i doubt they can do it utterly rat-arsed and singing Bohemian Rhapsody! We went out again the next night but i only had a couple of drinks (due to money being tight.. somehow i seemed give all mine to the bartender the night before).. i am glad we only had a few drinks as a tornado hit Ios and flooded the town.. and the town is ON TOP of a bloody greta hill. Mike, Girlclumsy and myself were running through white streets that looked like waterfalls in the driving rain looking for the rest of the tour who had gone to a different pub (we went to the one with the cheapest drinks... always trust a Liverpudlian to sniff out cheap drinks). On the way to the next bar the power went out and so we were stuck, in the dark, by ourselves, in a tornado.. FUN! We hit the bar drowned like rats and giggling like schoolgirls.. all good! When we got back to the reosrt we discovered it had been destroyed by the toranado. Basically everone had lost their bungalows to the driving rain.. except GC and ME! a-ha! upgrading to a double room paid off in spades! Ios was a fun fun time.. I would recomment anyone interest in drinking and beaches to come here but dont come in the high season.. come in september.. it is cheaper and the beaches aren't cluttered with people.

Santorini is the VOLCANO ISLAND! ooooooh yeah baby! This bad boy blew its top 3500 years ago and was the second biggest volcano eruption in recorded history. It sent a 200m tidal wave all the way to egypt in 4 minutes! cool! It was my birthday the day we took a boat over to the slightly smoking island caldera. We walked up and down the obsidian rocks and i put my arm in a hole that was pumping out hot sulpher... it was hot.. and smelled bad :) We then took the boat to a hot spring in a bay. We had to jump overboard and swim all the way into the bay and lathered ourselves with sulpherous mud and enjoyed the warm water from the sleeping monster volcano that lies 2km under the island.. humans really do live in funny places! (hi to all people in San Francisco!). That afternoon we took a bus and had a picnic overlooking the sea. My tour had a surprise for me.. a birthday cake. Girlclumsy had been running interference all day fo the tour leader (Hey jeremy) who had bought the cake. The whole group (hi guys and girls!) sang me happy birthday and then EVERYONE at the picnic lookout spot applauded me! There must have been about 100 people there... i felt so special aaw :) I, of course, took centre stage and thanked all my international guests for coming to my birthday. I also blathered other stuff which I am sure was comedy gold but i dont remember it now. A nice Korean man gave me a pendant for good luck as it was my birthday and I met Taryne and her mum Wendy who were wondering who the strange guy dressed in black was and why did everybody applaud him :) We all watched the sun go down over the Mediterranean..

It was the best birthday i have ever had.. and I have had some doozies! Thank you to everybody that made it to good.. from Girlclumsy, to the guys and gals from the busabout tour, to Tracy and Jeremy for organising the secret cake and to the nice Korean Man and Taryne and everybody else that will never ready this blog that was there.

We are now in Meteora. 4 1/2 hours north of Athens by train. It is the place where the monks built their monastaries ontop of giant Uluru like rocks. Yesterday we hiked through the forest to get to tof these places. Fantastic views from the top and the churches and gloriously crazily perched ontop of mountains! When we go to the top of the first one we discovered there a road on the other side of the mountians and you can take a coach bus to the top along lovely paved roads... oh well.. i declare anybody that didnt hike for over and hour through rain and rocks and supposed packs of wild dogs (though we didnt see them) SOFT AND FLABBY. The pain in my body meant i really enjoyed that monastary.. honest. Today we took the local bus to the top of the mountain and hiked down (much easoer than hiking UP and Down) looking at the other 4 monastaries.. i enjoyed the less toursty ones which shouldnt be a surprise.

Tomorrow we are off to Delphi.. i shall be asking some probing questions, let me tell you

Best wishes to you all

Friday, September 22, 2006

This beach is trying to kill me...

Water fabulous.

Islands barren.

Food cheap and plentiful.

Ruins ruinous and full of ancient drains.

Highlight so far: Delos, ancient capital of Greece.

Can't type as I injured my finger in a fall due to a combination of ocean slime, flagstones and a double Bourbon & Coke... The good news is, the bartender felt so bad he gave me a free triple Bourbon & Coke.

GirlClumsy has the full Mediterrean story.

ONE EURO GYROS! Excelsior!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Snackpoint Charlie

Blasted into Berlin for an overnight stopover before Athens... it is cheaper to fly to Berlin, stay a night, feed and water two people and then fly to Athens than it is to fly directly from Riga to Athens.. wacky!

I last went to Berline about three years ago and I rememered how to navigate that city perfectly... i really liked Berlin last time and it was good to see it again.. especially with all the new constructions completed near the Reichstag. Holocaust memorial and all the funky walk/bikeways.

Went on a 4 hour bike tour following the 43 km track of the Berlin Wall... not enough time to discuss how awful that wall makes me feel... people can suck bigtime... but as an interesting turn of fate the plane flight gave me time to listen to my iPod and discover all sorts of goodies abut Thomas Paine and his book 'The Rights of Man'... people can rock bigtime :) Go out imediately and read what this guy has to say.. go now.. stop reading this drivel.. i'll wait

doobee doobee doooo

*twiddles thumbs*

*drinks a cola drink*

right... everyone up to speed? good! cool, hey!

As we went past Checkpoint Charlie, the infamous historical border crossing between the madness of East and West Berlin i saw a food court called 'Snack Point Charlie'... now is that tacky or what?!? It made me laugh out loud and snort in disgust at the same time.. Girlclumsy thought i was choking on my cola drink.. but seeing she is used to me choking with rage at the smallest provocation she left me to it.

Now... we are in Athens... oooo Athens! Ancient Stuff Akimbo! DRAINS... so many 2000 - 3000 year old drains! and ancient toilets! oooh yeah, baby!

There are so many americans here. I was wondering if the latest empire builders look at these old empire builder's monuments and see their own future? do they get the feeling that time is running out?

Gotta GO! Islands await! I got to bathe in the seas the gods used to bathe in.. which gods? the old ones... before they died (yay Equus!)

P.s TISM has to write a song called Stingray. it must be!

Friday, September 15, 2006

A lot of Goths here in Riga

First things first... Happy Birthday to my sister, Debbie!
Will be seeing you soon for your wedding. Break out the emergency wedding kilts!

I have noticed a whole load of young gothlings here in Riga. You know what I am talking about.. those pale youths dressed all in black looking glum. Many of them are wearing marilyn manson t-shirts... which is a shame. I saw three of them all wearing the SAME Marilyn Manson tshirt and walking together.. it looked like a rather depressed rock fashion show. I suppose this is the sort of city you should dress up in leather and lace and ponce about looking pensive. Let's face it, Brisbane in the middle of December just doesn't let you work up enough angst. You are sweating your self to death waaaay before the absinthe kicks in :)

Poor bloody Latvia. We went today to the Latvian Natural Museum and saw just how kicked around this place has been since.. well.. forever. Like Estonia over the centuries they have been kicked from pillar to post by Sweden, Finland, Germany and Russia.. I am sure other countries have tried to sink the slipper into Latvia when it had its back turned as well. They manage to get some autonomy after WW1 when they are forcibly invited into the Soviet Union... cue pogroms and other fun stuff. Then the Red Army can't hold Latvia against the Third Reich and in moves Uncle Adolf and his gulags. Latvia once again undergoes a few recial purges and social engineering.... finally the Reds get their crap together and take Latvia back... yes.. you guessed it.. Latvia takes it in the face once more. Decades pass and finally they are their own country once again but i assume that many citizens are looking over their shoulders wondering when the next exciting invasion plan will come into effect.... and if you count sauced up, english chavs on a stag-night as an invasion (and there is enough of the ugly blighters to be found in matching drinking shirts at 2am in a gutter) then i suppose it has already happened. Cheap airlines are great.. but they sure do let EVERYONE in... even over opinionated aussies ;)

Latvians seem to be quite tall. I am average height for a male and i seem to be surrounded by many lanky tall latvian males. In these cold countries the female population makes a hell of an effort to dress up when the sun is out. You keep wondering where the fashion show is and it is just a nice warm day... funny to see gucchi fashion in a cut price supermarket

There were two latvians dressed up as dracula in a supermarket handing out fliers. I had to find out when was going on. The flier was for the upcoming release of the Mazda 3 here in Latvia.. wha? i have no idea the connection between Dracula and the Mazda 3. But they seemed like nice people.. and one wasnt even latvian but russian.

Onto Berlin tomorrow as a stop over and then Athens!

The culture! The Amphoras! The Olives!


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Working the Lats

Labdien from Latvia!

The Baltic Road Trip was an experience... three young people in a car, foot loose and fancy free. We managed to score a brand new black Volvo V50 which we immediately christened 'Beyonce'... as she was black and had a big boot-y. It was a fantastic car, comfy and forgiving of my 'wrong side of the road' driving. We (Girlclumsy and her brother, Simon and I) made our way back to the russian/estonian border town, Narva. By God that is a depressing burg. The people are waaaaay to russian for their own good.. and the only palce we could find food (if you could call it that) was ... sigh.. McDonalds... i know I know! We looked high and low.. oh god how we looked but in the end we had to buy McShite. It was the only place where i felt distinctly unsafe as we were being watched very intently by the roving gang of young males. But with Simon with us (big strong aussie male), Girlclumy's ability to bamboozle with history and my ability to scream like girl and shatter glass I knew we would be safe.

Oh yes.. forgot to ask when we were in Russia... I throw this question open to any russians that read this... (I'm looking at you Daria and Nataliya (even though Nataliya is Ukrainian)) .. do russian girls walk around a lot holding hands? When we were in St Petersburg i noticed a few girls walking pairs holding hands. I thought.. oh, thats nice, homosexuality must be accepted here.. and forgot all about it. But then i started noticing more and more girls holding hands.. enough to make my wonder. Now, either many many many women in St Petersburg are gay or
holding hands is normal for women in St Petes.. Please enlighten this traveller.

Right.. after all that sexual titillation i return to the story. We stayed that night out of the town in a hotel called Laagna.. nothing really special.. just a room to sleep. Next day we were off to see Lake Pepsi! I am pretty sure that isnt what it is called but that is the closest we could come to with our Anglo tongues. Picnics by the lake and onto Tartu the university town. Many young people in a smallish city that once again has a sexy medieval centre.Ya gotta love estonia and its creamy centres groaning with 800 years of sexy history.. nice!

We stayed in a small motel complex called Waide. This a fantastic little place just outside the town called Elva. We got our own building to romp around in... good beds, a loungeroom and satellite tv (with Porn! as discovered by Simon). It also had a giant chessboard, dartboard and swing sets big enough for all three of us! score! If you happen to find yourself in Estonia then try and stay at Waide.. it is great.

Ooo.. before i forget. For all you 'Flash Travellers' out there (those of you that travel with iPods and Laptops etc).. Estonia and Lativa are the countries for you! They have free WiFi (internet access) EVERYWHERE! it is amazing.. every tiny burg had free WiFi access to the internet. This would have been a lot more exciting for me if i had a laptop.. i still have to fork out Kroons and Lats for kinda slow landline internet connections.. sigh

We passed across the border into Latvia and went to a wee town called Cesus. There is a ruined castle here and I think it used to be in a territory called Liivland. If so, i guess this is where a colleague from work comes from! It was amusing to be in a place that has squares and hills and other things named after someone you know. It would like going to a country and finding Wahdinium everywhere. Maija, it is a beautiful part of the world to be associated with.

Onwards to Riga! We dropped off Beyonce at the airport and bussed into the old town of Riga. Much Much bigger than the old town of Tallinn but it has been modernised a hell of a lot more as well. Still a beautiful place but i must admit the proliferation of strip bars to accomodate the english booze-parties is a little much.

Somehow this tiny country has a currency (The Lat) that is nearly equal to the english pound! Bloody hell! Thank the gods things are cheap. You can get a good sized meal for 3.5 Lats.. and that is counting drinks. I am sure if we found less touristy places outside the Old Town area it would be cheaper again. I did read that inflation is crazy here and that is due to the joining of the EU and the comong of the Euro.

I have to fly.. time is up.. will write more soon!

Huzzah for the Baltics!
Everyone should come here!
We should import Latvian and Estonia women to Australia to beef up our genetic lines! ;)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Ya gotta love the EU!


Well, here we are in Estonia... and more specifically Tallinn. After a 8 hour bus trip where we had to do the russian ~dance like the peasant you are~ dance just one more time for customs. We had to get off the bus, get all our luggage, wait in a line for a stupid amount of time and then get stared at by a unfriendly border guard who stamps everything a zillion times and then throws your passport back at you. You put all you luggage (which they didnt even bloody check in any way) back on the bus and pass across to the estonian side. Here everything is much more civilised. They take your passport while you stay in your comy bus seat and they are back 10 mins later with everything done.. huzzah for the European Union! I knew i was back in the West when i heard Franz Ferdinand on the local radio station.

I officially love Tallinn. If i was a city and Tallinn was a single i would marry it. If you have been to or heard about the old town in Prague then you have some idea of what Tallinn is like. But Tallinn is better.. much better. To start with things are cheap here and you can actually stay in the heart of the old town and it wont cost you your immortal soul. It is a maze of winding cobbled streets and medieval walls. You can wander lost through the closes and cloisters and come across the most fantastic hole in the wall shops lined with amber or linen or even ironmongery. If you like Prague then come to Tallinn. The Old town is much better, imo. The new town areas of Tallinn are like any european city. But you can go see a movie for as little as 2.50 AUD! They still use the Kroon here (1AUD - 9 Kroon also called the EEK.. which is funny to use when the price of something is really high... EEK! Though i am sure the locals dont find it quite as amusing as i did) When the Euro is introduced next year I am sure prices will go up but at the moment it is a sensibly priced part of europe. People speak english better than I do and SMILE! In fact i think estonians are one of the most attractive people i have ever seen. They were originally nordic people that came and bred with the local tribes. Over the years they have added many other ethnic strains to create a very easy on the eye people.

Poor bloody Estonia... They are one of those counties, like Hungary, that has been conquered by everyone and never really had a chance to go it alone. They have been controlled by Sweden, Finland, Germany and Russia. They finally gain their independence in 1918 but it lasts for a bout 6 seconds because the WW2 happens and estonia become the kicking ground for Germany V Russia. Then the russians take over and try to crush estonian culture by bulldozing cemetaries and inviting russians to coem live cheapily in the newly conquered territory and such like.. you know.. basic bastard behaviour. But now, since 1991, the Estonians finally are independent (after the wonderful Singing Revolution) and ready to enter the world. I have a soft spot for these people. They have free education (and this means that they have a huge percentage of very well educated citizens with useful skills that want to work and make money and therefore taxes... ARE YOU LISTENING JOHNNY?... FREE EDUCATION GOOD.. BEING A TWAT, BAD!) and most of the younger generations can speak many languages. They have joined the EU with gusto and want to promote themselves as the culture capital of europe in 2011 (and if Glasgow can win that title then anybody can.. sorry to all the weegies reading this!). Their economy is growing steadily and they are a bright optomistic people. Righto... enough of the suck~up~to~Estonia blog ;) We went aboard a 1930 Estonian submarine called Lembert. I used to work with a Latvian lady named Maija. Her husband is called Lembert and I do believe he is estonian.. maybe he is named after this submarine. If anyone from work can tell me the answer i would be interested.

You know you are back in Europe when you see walking and bike tours being advertised everywhere. Girlclumsy and i have done both already. We especially loved the bike tour with authentic (read crappy) soviet era bikes. We peddled hither and yon as our bikes slowly disintegrated beneath us. I lost a peddle and the handle bars nearly fell off! But we did see parts of Tallinn we would never have every found on our own.

This is one of those places you really can just wander. You always find something odd around each corner whether it is Kiek in the Kok (Kick in the what? how rude! oh.. it means Peek in the Kitchen) or Fat Margarets Tower. We have had dinner twice in a local Pub called Hell Hunt. Great Pub atmosphere and I have been reliably informed that picking up of attractive locals or fellow travellers is exceptionally easy.... but i might have to wait for girlclumsy to go to sleep before i test that theory.. all in the name of science... of course.

Tomorrow we are off in a hire car to whizz around Estonia and Latvia.

Peter Brock gone as well... i dont know.. you leave the country for a month and the whole bloody place goes to pot! Best of luck to you all in queensland.. voting is important! Girlclumsy and I tried our best to vote but without having a stable address it is bloody hard! We even visited the Honourary Consul in St Petersburg! Dont fine us Mr Voting~Leader~Guy!

Also, my dad has a travel blog as well ~ Travels of an Ancient Man ~ not much there yet but i am sure he will be adding his more vintage form of cyber-craziness in the future.

Head Aega!

The Duck Didnt Die!

St Petersburg.. a city so nice they named it thrice .. plus one ..

St Petersburg ~ Petrograd ~ Leningrad ~ St Petersburg

After the non smiling experience of the Muscovites it was a very nice to see St Petersburgers actually looking happy. They werent dancing in the streets but they definitely looked like a group of people that didnt hate everything about them.

Good old St Petes is a groovy city. Less busy than Moscow and with a lot more Olde Worlde Charme.

Our hostel was a reconditioned factory.. and they seemed to have reconditioned it into a prison. Tiny rooms with bunk beds, grey walls with no windows and terrible brown water in the taps. I started taking a shiv into the shower cubicle so i wouldnt be shanked! Girlclumsy points out that she has no need to shank me as she controls the money on the trip.... but im keeping the jade knife i bought in Lake Baikal close to me just to be sure. These persian~polish~irish crossbreeds are a moody lot!

One of my first memories of St Petersburg was finding out that Steve Irwin had been killed by a stingray. We went to the Australian consulate to try and vote and found out that russians had been ringing the consulate all day passing on their condolences. Love him or hate him you have to admit the crazy guy sure did promote australia all over the world in a very positive way. Bon Voyage, Steve!

Peter the Great was a bit of a dude. Sure he was an absolute monarch and had a habit of throwing his weight around (for example... he banned all stone masons from practising anywhere in russia except for St Petersburg until the city was fully built) but he mucked in and actually helped build the original Peter and Paul Fortress... he also lived in a tiny 2 bedroom wooden shack for ages and ages to the horror of his royal peers. Bascially he wanted to build the sexiest city in the universe and he picked a filthy swamp to do it. What this means is today you have a lovely canal based city chock full of historical sexiness... a fabulous place for travellers like myself to bum around in! Peter The Great was.. well.. Great but his kids and heirs were basically spoiled little brats that kind of deserved to be wiped out... funny thing is that the russians dont really talk much about how they dragged the royal family into the basement and shot them all dead. In fact all the royal remains that could be found have been dug up and reburied with the rest of the Czars. I think the madness and brutality of the soviet era is a time many are trying to make up for ... and then forget.

The Hermitage was amazing. 5 seperate palaces and museums that have been joined together and opened gto the public. It is one of the those museums you can spend months in and still not see everything. You have the restored palatial dining and ball rooms but you also have millions of art pieces. We saw Kandinsky, Monet, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, Gaugin and other painters. We also saw Rodin sculptures by the truckload. I have come to the conclusion that everyone of Rodins sculpture should be called ~Young People Getting It On Number 34 etc etc ~. His manager probably decided to rename the porn Cupid and Psyche and all the others. Dont get me wrong, they are fabulous art pieces but you have to start wondering about a guy that has sooooo many snog sculptures! Also.. Matisse is rubbish... yes.. rubbish. I just dont understand why everyone is so fascinated by his baby drawings! Finally.. if i see one more Madonna with Jesus painting there is going to be trouble. Medieval artists really need to pick a new bloody theme! hehe Had a giggle when we saw many of the paintings had ~acquired in 1947~ written beneath them... the germans must be mightily pissed about this.

We went out to Peterhof.. which is basically Peters summer palace and gardens. It looks so much like Verseille (i am pretty sure i have butchered that spelling) it is uncanny. But then again the Czars of russia really did like the french back then. The Gardens are magnificent but not as extensive as Verseille. The best feature was the moated house Peter had built for his daughter. It made me think she must have been a right strumpet if she had to be moated! Took a hydrofoil back across the water to the City.. squeeeeed in excitement when we stopped being a boat and lifted up onto the blades in the water.. all very flash.

We had dinner in a cool daddio Jazz Club called the Chateau but we also went to the ballet to see Swan Lake,.... now.. answer me this. In Swan Lake the swan princess takes one for the team and dies, yes? Well... in this version THE DUCK DIDNT DIE! It all ends happily with the swan~chick heading off with the prince! What a rip off! I did enjoy the part when the guy who looked like Darth Vader did a vulcan nerve pinch on the prince! Wrestlemania haas nothing on that! But the duck didnt die... not even a little. I assume they wanted a happu ending for the kiddies or they havent heard about bird flu yet.

Odd thing that happened. Went into a Subway sandwich place to get lunch and met a guy that new me from Mousetrap theatre over 10 years ago! His name is Keith and he was on holiday in St Petersburg. How the hell he recognised me after 10 years i have no idea! He also knew Girlclumsy from a show she did at the Redcliffe Entertainment Centre 8 years ago. The world is a really really small place.

So thats the end of russia. It has been a strange time in a strange land. Different enough yet close enough to our culture to make you double~take at something every ten minutes. If you get the chance come to Russia. It is a fascinating and infuruating place. The soviet ugliness is being pealed back and a beautful, but non~smiling, country is waiting to be seen!

Onwards to the Baltics!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Moscow Hates Epileptics!

Greetings from the Red Square... well about 150 metres from the Red Square. This internet cafe is so close to the Kremlin on a still day you can almost smell Lenin... mmmm Lenin-y goodness

Tried to see the old guy but wouldn't-ya-know-it Moscow turns 859 today and the city is closed for Muscovite Celebrations.. but NO SMILING! Russians do not smile... EVER! STOP SMILING! Supposedly they smile when with friends... but i think they must always hang out with hated enemies as they are all so stoney faced. We have been told they do have a national "Smile Day"... but i have no idea how the poor russians will survive such an event. It would crack their stoic faces. There will be much celebrating later in the day with street markets and laser shows. Nat and I watched much Big-Hattery and military goose stepping and tried to see Putin... but the bugger is rather elusive.

Now.. about the epiliptic thing. The city seems to be in love with LEDs. They cover every available surface in randomly blinking lights. Hotels, billboards, public monuments..all blinking away in no discernible pattern. Standing in the main street of Moscow at night you can feel certain parts of you brain passing in and out of consciousness!

The 4 day train trip across 1/4 of the planet was a bizarre, bizarre journey. Eating, Reading, Drinking, Chatting, Vomiting, Staring and TOGA TOGA TOGA! I will leave the Girlclumsy to fill you in on the filthy details... my soul still burns from the "romance" of rail ;) The train was at least comfortable this time but the total lack of showers make for a rather aromatic trip.

Did the usual touristy thing of wandering Red Square and taking copious pictures of St Basil's Cathedral. (Boom! Boom!) You know the one.. Russian... In the Red Square.. Looks like ad for ice cream cones. Inside wasn't waht i expected. It isn't a big empty space like european cathdreals. It feels more like a cave with different grottos scattered haphazardly throughout. Many different rooms (though they are all different churches) joined together by tiny dark winding corridors. I was in raptures with the place. To top it all off there was a male choir sounding in the depths. The place has fantastic acoustics and the baritones sounded like zealot whales calling to their pod. The darkness, the russian orthodox iconongraphy and the singing made for a very eerie and atmospheric experience. Best of all.. free! Huzzah for "Moscow is 859" day.

Wandered the Kremlin also. It is rediculously expensive and only really gets you into the grounds of the Kremlin (which mean Fortress in old russian).. well some of the grounds. When we tried to go to some places we were held back by military types and a stern 'Nyet'. You have to pay more to get into the actual good stuff in the Armoury. Yes.. there were weapons galore (Huzzah!) but they also have many of the Russian treasures. Faberge eggs made to look like bullets (comemerating WW1), dresses for Catherine the Great, many many carriages made by many many countries and given to Russia when they were a sexy imperial power, gilded silver and silvered gold, plates, pots, plaques and pantaloons. The Armoury was the best part of the Kremlin in my opinion. Well worth the money

Oooo! The Mosow Metro! Yay! I have found a Underground train system i love just as much as the London Underground! Well laid out, huuuuuuuge escalators, big trains that come often and a maze of tunnels and connecting doors to explore... good stuff. It is in someways even better than the London Underground because some stations still have the old chandeliers hanging from the ceilings. Imperial majestic light fittings in a common area. I have been digging using the Moscow Metro nearly as much as getting the places I was trying to get to! It has been pointed out by a few people on the tour i am on that I am a freak... but say to you, gentle readers, BOLLOCKS!

Moscow is expensive but not as bad London, imo. No sign of crime and pickpockets... but then again thats probably the point. Two guys on our tour did get asked for their passports by the local fuzz.. Big hatted serious types.. but it all ended well

Righto gang.. must flit.