A Travellerspoint blog

Day 7



Day started badly...didn’t hear the announcement that we’d arrived in Moscow so were so late off the train that we incurred the wrath of our compartment attendant and ALL of the glowering attendants of the other compartments( about 15 of them standing to attention beside their compartment doors) as we made the walk of shame along the long, long platform to where our driver was anxiously waiting for us.
Long train!

Long train!

We were bundled into the car and taken to a nice hotel where we had a second breakfast - the train one is excellent but not sure if even I can cope with a dessert of Apple strudel at 0715…. but the eggs Benedict was great. Duly stoked up with caffeine etc for the day to come, our tour guide came to collect us and off we set to clock up another 7 miles of walking. We started with visits to some of the more spectacular Metro stations to admire the different styles Metro


Partisan memorial Metro

Partisan memorial Metro

The different stops have such diverse themes we took a very circuitous route in order to see as many as possible on our way to our ultimate destination, Red Square.
Red Square

Red Square

The square was just as imagined with the Kremlin, St.Basil’s and The Gum department store and people queuing to see Lenin. We didn’t bother with that...I had no wish to view a dead guy! The visits to those and the tour of all the cathedrals and the armoury in the Kremlin took us the rest of the day and a lot more walking so by the time our lovely guide returned us to the hotel, we were ready to rest. Again, the best meal nearby was to be found at a Brewhouse ( Bavarian this time!)so that’s where we headed to eat before the driver collected us to return us to the station for the overnight train back to St.Petersburg. It’s so lovely to have someone to lead us to the least busy loos, past the hoards (or hordes) of Chinese tourists and navigate the Metro...well done to “Go Russia” with whom we were booked.
The sleeper trains are rather lovely and do feel somewhat 1930s...
Grand Express

Grand Express

Posted by nanny0gg 01:10 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Day 6

Helsinki to St.Petersburg....and such a lot of walking!

sunny 12 °C
View Anniversary expedition on nanny0gg's travel map.

The St Petersburg ferry is part Italian run/ managed(!) so I had an excellent pizza for my meal...which seemed weird but breakfast was far more Nordic with loads of fish on offer...which delighted Keith but I avoided like the plague. We docked and disembarked at St.Petersburg and after considerable stamping of papers by the serious looking Russian officials, we met our lovely guide for the day, Helena. We were the only ones on for this tour so we had her and the car with driver to ourselves for the day which was great. Dear reader...if I tell you my mock Fitbit told me we’d done more than 8 miles by bedtime, you’ll get some idea how intense it was. In the day we covered the Egyptian stuff, St. Isaacs Cathedral, the Square in front of the Winter Palace as the weather was great and fewer crowds than on our scheduled day of Sunday, the Peter and Paul fortress and the the Catherine Palace at Pushkin for the Amber room!! Plus some shopping and things being pointed out too numerous to mention.
Winter Palace

Winter Palace

. Catherine Palace

Catherine Palace

The tour finished after 6pm so we were left to forage for food ( weirdly an excellent Belgian beer place,Kriek - very popular with locals) before the driver collected us to get to the station for the Moscow sleeper. Very grand cabin with a high tech bathroom including the most precisely aimed bidet one could ever meet! Enough said about that...

Posted by nanny0gg 13:42 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

Day 5

Stockholm to Helsinki to St.Petersburg

overcast 10 °C

What a lovely hotel Motel L was in Stockholm! We had a great walk in its environs then relaxed in their lounge using the Wi-Fi and free coffee until a taxi took us to the Viking line terminal. The cruise/ferry ship was great...a proper bed and plenty of space in the cabin. Heading out through the islands was wonderful...they look so lovely particularly in an evening mist...definitely colder ( hooray, I have the right clothes at last!).

We went to eat on board and I chose a veal chop with fries imagining something like a schnitzel...I hate to think how big the parents were if the chop was part of a young animal...I’ve cooked roasts that were smaller! However, it was really beautiful and I managed most of it. I will be careful in future if I meet Swedish ( or Finnish) cows! Our waitress was a lovely Finn with perfect English that she taught herself by getting hold of the lyrics from her favourite artist and translating...favourite artist = Eminem!!
The crossing was so calm, the ship hardly seemed to move and after a fabulous breakfast, we arrived in Helsinki. We took a taxi to the other ferry terminal and left our bags then went off to explore Helsinki on foot. I really like Helsinki and its Art Deco buildings are wonderful! The central station both inside and out is really marvellous..loved it. Sadly as we hoofed back to the ferry ( we only did 6+ miles today instead of 7+ in Copenhagen), the heavens opened and we got pretty much soaked by the time we reached the ferry. The St.Petersburg cruise/ferry accommodation is not as luxurious as last nights...much more like a Calmac cabin...but more entertainment on board...and hopefully the food will be more of a normal size!

Posted by nanny0gg 13:40 Archived in Finland Comments (0)

Day 4

Copenhagen to Stockholm

overcast 18 °C

Again glorious warm weather...far too hot for autumn attire. I seemed to be full of a cold since yesterday afternoon...but it could have been too much air conditioning on trains. However we walked a lot ( and in my case, sneezed a lot) around central Copenhagen which is lovely. Our hotel (WakeupCopenhagen) was near the water so we followed the road beside the water until we got to some of the smaller waterways which lead to the old government buildings and the royal palace

Copenhagen view

Copenhagen view

and then on to see Tivoli. We didn’t have enough time to go in and explore the gardens...and I’m far too chicken to have done any of the rides particularly those that go high then plummet rather quickly! However it was gearing up to Hallowe’en there so the entrance was adorned with pumpkins, broomstick etc which was rather fun.
Halloween at Tivoli

Halloween at Tivoli

Then it was time for the long train trip to Stockholm. THE TRAIN WAS ON TIME! From the time and comfort, the train was great however, they didn’t have enough food in their buffet for all on the train..,so by the time we went, the cupboard was bare. However, when we arrived after 2140 in Stockholm, we managed to grab a takeaway burger from a place near the station just before he closed at 2200. Every other station we’ve been at quite late has been teeming with eateries, Stockholm station didn’t seem to have many...and those there were were closed. However, we ate, found a taxi and came out to a rather lovely hotel ( called Motel L although certainly not a motel) which is a bit too far out to make it worth going in to sightsee. By this time, my cold/ cough seemed worse than ever -probably 5+ hours in the train didn’t help - but thankfully, I managed a good sleep and the worse seems to be over now and I can stop leaving a trail of used tissues over Scandinavia!

Posted by nanny0gg 01:22 Archived in Sweden Comments (0)

Day 3 - Germany to Denmark

Ferries on trains...whatever next?

sunny 22 °C

Glorious sunshine - so too hot for the clothes we’ve brought, but after a great buffet breakfast we had a couple of hours to walk it off, so after a very brief look at the dodgier side of Hamburg, I worked out where the posh shops would be and in finding them we also found the lovely Town Hall (Rathaus). Rathaus


We then headed for the station, found the platform for the Copenhagen train...and discovered it would be 10 mins late. Lovely train, no Wi-Fi, very busy(booked seats a must)...and the fun of being driven in a train onto a ferry.
Train on ferry

Train on ferry

45 mins to make the crossing with shops and eateries if needed ( not after our big breakfast) but a lovely day to sit outside and stare at the blue sea and enjoy the unseasonable warmth. Once back on the train it was Denmark in its glory of tiny lovely small towns and villages with near empty roads until the commuter belt of Copenhagen. Quite spectacular coming out of the station to see the Tivoli Gardens advertising their Halloween spectacular...but we didn’t tarry and made our way to our hotel (Wakeup Copenhagen!) - very modern and convenient but fairly soulless. However the Wi-Fi is superb!

Posted by nanny0gg 12:20 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

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