So the ladies got ripped off staying for dinner at the hotel exxy restaurant. it seems that they paid as much for their wine as food.
one had a vodka and orange and was horrified that she had to pay separately for both. people need to stop whingeing about the prices, if you cant afford it, or dont want to pay for it, dont bloody well buy it.
i forgot to say, meat and fish are priced on the menu by 100g lots. so you have to be careful about that. that is a little tricky, but it is marked, so you can see it, its not a secret.
The inevitable question about David and Kevin turned up this am, my answer was not your to ask, not mine to tell. (MYOB)
that done, and only mild offence taken we headed off at 9.30 for our second day of walking the city. the ladies had complained so much that instead of walking to the station we ended up with a little bus to take us there.
One of the Lynne's (the neurotic one) has a fear of stairs it seems, especially crippling on downwards escalators. Yesterday when we went to the metro David had to herd her on the longest escalator ive ever seen, and then she burrowed into his back like a tick. She did it today as well. Now she doesnt even ask, she just grabs him and does it.
We went to the Red Square again but it was still closed. We did however get to go in to the Kremlin. The churches and other buildings ere fabulous.
There was a museum of Tzar clothing and ceremonial dress , very good. In pretty god condition given the age of the pieces. We went into the Assumption Church... totally covered on every surface with gilded paintings. It was fascinating hearing about how it all worked. The prayer boxes for the Cleric, the Tzar and the Tzarina.
The Cleric had a Silver one, The Tzar a wooden one and the Tzarinas made out of some lesser material. I forget. Hers was painted and adorned with tapestries etc all with themes of childbirth and fertility as her only job was to produce heirs. David had two lots of faulty footwork - in the Kremlin he walked up the road rather han on the footpath and a guard came to shift him off. As the guard was so far away by the time the guard got to him the Ministry of Funny Walks sent out a contingent of goose steppers to make him mend his ways. Once was not enough so in the church he dared put his foot on a step where no mere mortal should step. He was given the death stare and a sharp word or two.
From there we had a little free time that we used for output and input. Toilets arent easy to find anywhere. They have a couple of portaloos in the streets but seriously you wouldnt use those, otherwise you need to find them in the department stores, where they are very clean. Thats because they are so hard to find that they arent well used. All the stores have guards or security, but the populace seems very well behaved. Weve not seen any youth at all, or gatherings in the open areas. I dont know where the teenagers are.
Lunch was at 1pm in a traditional restaurant. Started off with smoked salmon (not smoked enough for me... was more like sushimi... i couldnt eat it... So David scored that. second course was borscht, with sour cream and a garlic roll. Main course was a perfectly cooked chicken kiev with roast potato cubes and something orange that was pureed that may have been pumpkin, sweet potato or carrot or a mix. we arent sure. then for sweets we had 3 blinis with blueberry filling. yum. we had free time in the afternoon but we all headed back with Rita by Trolley car.
a cross between a bus and a tram. Its got wheels and also pantographs but no tracks.
So that used up heaps of time even so. we tried to get internet in the lobby when we got back but it was useless, so after a magnificent hot chocolate we headed upstairs to nap. I woke feeling like a zombie and still not wide awake even after repeated face washing with cold water. David, Kevin and I headed off to get dinner snacks before the acapella performance but we couldnt find anything exactly right so ended up with a few things to take on the train the next day. I got really overheated at the supermarket and bailed on the cup of soup, i just sat in the lobby and drank water. I thought i was going faint. its so hot everywhere inside.
I had been glad of my coat today though as it was really cold and drizzly. I'd used my earmuffs and neck warmer too. the gloves made minor appearances. it was bitter. so the coat has been a success.
alan finally decided to come to the music with us so all of us went back into the cold to get on the little bus ... a very little bus... two seats short of our numbers. but like many things over here, rules seem optional, so we all piled in, 4 in the back, 3 in the middle and rita sitting on the console.
the acapella was truly magnificent. it was in a private gallery that housed of all things the amazing painting of eternal Russia. if youve never sen it google it. omg.. i couldnt believe io was standing in front of it. its huge. the singers were brilliant and divided the repertoire into two distinct sections. the first was religious.. even though we didnt understand the words it was so beautiful it made you want to cry. the female lead's voice filled the whole room. the acoustics were brilliant. the second half was traditional folk songs. the women changed into traditional dress and there a bit of mucking about which would have been more amusing if we understood russian. no matter. we got the gist of it. i bought the cd of the religious songs. im sure it wont sound as good at my place but it really was worth supporting their talent.
after that we squeezed back into the same bus and did a night tour of Moscow.
unfortunately not everything was lit.. eg: st basils was in darkness. other palaces etc were lit. Various people with various cameras got good shots. mine could cope with well lit, but not with the ones in the dark. I'll rely on others for the good night shots. Steve and Alan have the best cameras and are very dedicated to getting the primo shots. those two and later David and Kevin headed off up a bridge to get some shots. Neurotic Lynne kept saying omg, they are going up the hill when the bus has come back... grr. for heavens sake... we went there to take photos and thats what they were doing. She went on and on, and on. in the end she said to me ring them up ring them up. I said i would do no such thing... they werent doing anything they werent supposed to do.... it was an activity for seeing the night lights and taking photos.. to my mind thats what they were doing. in the end she was getting herself so worked up she was frantic.. i said im going to wait in the bus which i did. so i defended the boys twice today from those ladies.
the other lynne is mean minded and grumpy. i think shes in pain but nothing makes her happy. complains about everything. food. rooms. weather. walking. the traffic.the bus. also knows everything... and i mean everything. they are a fine pair.
libby is the pick of the three. shes needy but actually ok.
a north geelong boy. steven virgona.. know him Lynne?
he's had his stomach stapled and says he's lost approx 30 kgs. dont know how because he never stops eating... he just does it slowly. he takes about 2.5 hours to eat brekky but he eats a full cooked brekkie, yoghurt, cereal, the lot. to top it off i watched him have a chopped up banana slathered with chocolate spread, hazelnut spread and peanut butter spread. whilst he was doing all that he was telling us that he has a bag full of chocolate in his luggage. why on earth would you do that?
seems dumb to me. apart from that he's ok, a bit of fun, teases alan, seems to fit in with everyone fairly ok. one thing though... he's a bit of a girl.
a late night and an early start... a 4.30 start to head off to St Petersburg.