A Travellerspoint blog

Stop 3 - Moscow & train from Moscow to Tyumen

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We arrived in Moscow around 4pm, checked in to our (slightly odd) hostel and then went for a night time wonder. We were both surprised at how vibrant and lively it seemed. After a good nights sleep we headed out to probably the most well known attraction in Moscow - the Kremlin.



Inside the main cathedral square (the main open space surrounded by important buildings and churches) it felt strangely peaceful for somewhere that important history changing decisions had been made for the past 800 years. The various white washed churches topped with golden domes had been used for different reasons over time including burials, worship, celebrations and coronations. As well as the churches there are also the government buildings although these are obviously not open for random tourists to just wonder into.


As well as the Kremlin there were many other beautiful buildings to look st in Moscow - the photo above is of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour


And obviously we couldn't visit without going to take a picture the famous St Basils!

Besides looking at buildings we also spent time in Moscow at a park called Gorky Park full of weird little (and some actually pretty big) statues of all the people you can imagine from Lenin to Pinocchio. We also went to a pretty interesting arts development called Red October which used to be biscuit factory. The building itself had actually been changed very little with what seemed like quite a bit of industrial sized biscuit making equipment hanging about. There were quite a few arty shops and galleries to explore but we spent most of out time eating in a rather hipsterish and very yummy Georgian restaurant.

That evening we boarded the train for a 2 day and 2 night journey from Moscow to Tyumen



The provodnista was very friendly and we settled in quickly to our little compartment. It was a second class cabin meaning we were sharing with two other people. These two others were two Russian men, both very friendly and one extremely interested in English kings; Richard III seemed to be be the topic of most conversations. We had the two bottom bunks which were pretty comfortable and big. Despite the bumpy train we both managed to sleep pretty well. In the morning we quickly tidied our beds up and made them back into seats so our friends could sit down - however it seems this wasn't necessary as they both stayed lying on their top bunks for most of the rest of the journey. After poking our heads into some other compartments we realised this seemed normal - if you have booked a top bunk you stay in it!

The scenery was pretty although not very varied; We spent the majority of journey in birch forests. However it was surprisingly easy to stay entertained listening to podcasts, reading, writing, drinking tea and playing games.

Posted by Chloemillen92 07:15 Archived in Russia Tagged moscow russia trans-siberian Comments (0)

Stop 2 - Poland & Warsaw to Moscow on the train

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We next took the train from Cologne to Krakow with a couple of changes and a one night pit stop in Warsaw. We arrived in Krakow in the pouring rain to find there was a 'problem' with our apartment; which later turned out to be that the guy was no longer renting it and had forgotten to take it off the website (www.apartment-krakow.pl - don't use them). After most of the day sat in a canteen with no wifi and little signal we ended up picking a another, rather more expensive, place on booking.com as it was practically all that was left so last minute. This place was however very central and spacious with a great shower so things turned out pretty well. Sara arrived at around 2am after a busy day at work, a flight and a bus and we chilled and chatted before going to sleep. The next day was amazing with Sara showing us around all the sights and giving us loads of information.


Here is a little snap shot of the street taken from the old city wall which we walked along a section of. It was a bank holiday in Poland so it was pretty busy in the Old Town which added to the atmosphere.


We visited St Mary's Basilica which was amazingly colourful inside and had a guy playing the trumpet once an hour at the top. Apparently this hourly ritual of playing most of a song and abruptly stopping before the end is to commemorate an incident that occurred in 1241 when a man guarding the tower saw people coming towards Krakow to attack. He played his trumpet as a warning to the inhabitants but then unfortunately got shot in the neck with a bow and arrow mid tune. Luckily the people of Krakow had already heard the warning and were able to hide!


For dinner we went to a place called Grandma Raspberry which was totally done out like a Grandma's house. Sara told us this is normal for a traditional Polish restaurant which is pretty cool. They even had a scruffily made bed and lamp in the corner! After dinner we headed to a vodka bar where we tried around 15 vodka varieties!


For lunch the next day we ate pierogi in another cosily decorated place which were both yummy and filling. Sara went for sweet apple and rose ones whilst both Mike and I went savoury.


After lunch and parting ways with Sara, Mike and I got on a train back to Warsaw and then boarded our first sleeper train from Warsaw to Moscow via Belarus. The train was way more fancy and modern that we had been expecting and the Belarus border controls were really quite chilled. We were wondering for hours at what point we would go through Russian border controls but this never actually happened. We realised later that Belarus has an open border with Russia. There is a lady on every carriage of every long distance Russian train called a 'provodnista' who looks after the carriage by cleaning, handing out linen, checking tickets etc. Our provodnista was very friendly and came to offer us tea before bed, it arrived in a very spectacular glass and glass holder combo as you can see above.

Overall we slept pretty well but the journey was quite bumpy at times. I made another terrible wonky video to try and capture the bumpyness and a bit of what the carriage looked like whilst Mike was sleeping like a giant baby.

Posted by Chloemillen92 12:08 Archived in Poland Tagged poland krakow Comments (0)

Stop 1 - Cologne

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We arrived in Cologne at 9:30 Tuesday morning and headed to our AirBnB. Our host was a nice lady called Barbara. She was very friendly and enthusiastically showed us around her cosy apartment despite thinking we were arriving at 9:30pm due to a miscommunication somewhere along the line.. We napped a bit (as trying to sleep upright on the bus had not exactly been a total success) and then went out to see the sights. The next two days were spent looking at and climbing the cathedral, visiting Museum Ludwig (a modern art gallery), wandering around the old town looking at churches and other nice buildings, learning about Cologne 4711 in a tiny museum above a shop, eating and drinking beer.


Cologne cathedral is really very tall, 1500 metres to be exact. It's also quite beautiful, detailed and is built in an interesting way.


We decided that we needed some exercise so climbed the very long spiral staircase up the tower. This is the view from (almost) the top.


Cycling is such a big deal here that they have even built little pretend road systems with road signs and traffic lights where children can learn to ride and simultaneously have the best time of their lives.


Cologne has a lot of pretty churches - there was basically a new one to look at every time you turned a corner when you were in the old town.

It also has lots of cheap and yummy beer called Kolsch. I made a terrible and wonky video of Mike holding some in a typical beerhouse :D


Posted by Chloemillen92 04:34 Archived in Germany Tagged germany cologne Comments (0)

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