Red Square

Dateline: Moscow, Day 4

Moscow, Russian Federation
6 June 2009

Today was a big day with lots of traveling. Ryan, Lizzy, and I set out to go back to Red Square to see Lenin’s Mausoleum. However, we kind of got lost on the way. Instead of heading straight toward the city center, we ended up going around it, following one of the famed ring roads.

We finally made it to the city center, were we think new officers were being commissioned, although we’re not entirely sure.

70.0 mm || 1/1600 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

They all looked pretty young though.

We decided that we better get in line to see Lenin, since viewing hours are only from 10am to 1pm. We dropped off our bags at the bag check (the Russians are very serious about nobody photographing Lenin) and queued up to see Lenin. Interestingly enough, viewing Lenin is completely free. I think the level of irony would shoot out the roof if Russia charged visitors to see Lenin, one of the great Communist leaders, being exploited in a capitalism manor.

Anyway, Lenin is doing very well. Resting peacefully (and somewhat creepily) in his mausoleum.

Ryan wanted to go to the Market to get some trinkets to bring back home with him. We found the nearest Metro station, after a bit more wandering, and made it clear across town to the Market in no time.

Lunch was in order by this time. Every where we went, we kept seeing these huge chunks of meat on a skewer…sort of what you see at a place that makes gyros.

40.0 mm || 1/125 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Sokolinaya Gora, Moscow Federal City, Russia

They’re called Шаурма1, and it’s sort of like a gyro, but not. It has some form of meat in it, with a salad like filling and sauces, served in a pita or tortilla. All for 70 roubles2.

We wandered through the market for the next 30 minutes, but were throughly disappointed. All we would see for rows and rows were shoes, clothes, bags, and coats. There would be an occasional wedding dress or electronics shop, but nothing of tourist interest.

Until we found the secret door.

It’s actually not a door, it’s just an entrance. But they do charge 10 roubles to get in. We paid and immediately found what we were looking for.

18.0 mm || 1/160 || f/3.5 || ISO1000 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

70.0 mm || 1/125 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

48.0 mm || 1/125 || f/4.5 || ISO800 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

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Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

Old soviet maps. War time memorabilia (both real and reproductions). Russian dolls. We took our time gazing at all the awesomeness. After spending what seemed like hours, decided on a matted photo taken shortly after the dissolution of the Soviet government and a propaganda poster. There was so much more I want, but I knew I didn’t have the space (or money) to take it with me.

We finished up our market excursion, and then headed home with a quick stop at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building.

18.0 mm || 1/800 || f/6.3 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

This was Kate, Lizzy, Tim, Gary, and Ryan’s last day in Moscow. We said our goodbyes, exchanged Facebook information, and then they headed out to catch their Trans-Siberian Train.

  1. pronounced: Shaurma 

  2. $2.25 

Dateline: Moscow, Day 2

Moscow, Russian Federation
4 June 2009

I woke up around 6am for two reasons. First, it was really light outside (Moscow gets about 19 hours of daylight this time of year). Second, Eric had just stumbled. I inquired as to last nights fun and he said he had no idea. I believed him.

I tried to go back to bed, but couldn’t really fall back asleep. I think this was mostly due to the residual jet lag. I ended up laying in bed and resting for another two hours, listening to my iPod while also playing solitaire on it.

I eventually got out of bed at 8 and headed out to the common area. There was quite a commotion going on. I slowly started to piece the story together. We all (Eric, Casper, Kate, Lizzy, Tom, Gary, Ryan, and me) all went out last night. After we had issues finding a pub, some of us (Lizzy, Tom, and me) decided to come back.

Apparently the rest who stayed out (Eric, Casper, Kate, Gary, and Ryan) found some combinations of nightclubs and strip clubs to enjoy themselves in. And sometime between 4 and 6am, they all stumbled back home in a series of taxis. All except for Ryan.

By 6am, Ryan had not yet show up to the hostel, and Kate was growing more concerned by the minute. By 8am, she was trying to track down the last nightclub they were all at. This was more easily said than done for two reasons; first, they were taken there by taxi and had little idea as to where it was in relation to anything else. Second, they were all piss drunk and hungover.

By 10am, I had left with Kate to go and try to find Ryan; no one else seemed particularly keen on going, and the excursion would help me get a better idea of Moscow’s geography. And it makes for a hell of a good story.

So off we go. First to the night club, which takes forever to find. The owner pretty much laughs at us. We continued searching, but by noontime had mostly given up. Kate hadn’t sleep all night and the realization of the impossibility of searching all of Moscow was starting to sink in.

Kate went back to the hostel and I continued on.

27.0 mm || 1/1250 || f/7.1 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

18.0 mm || 1/2000 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

I decided that my first stop should be Red Square. Getting there didn’t take to long on foot.

50.0 mm || 1/8000 || f/1.8 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

As it turns out, Moscow’s Red Square isn’t all that red, although the State Historical Museum is a wonderful burgundy color:

18.0 mm || 1/640 || f/8.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

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Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

Lenin’s Mausoleum was closed for the day, so I would have to stop back tomorrow.

And of course, there’s St. Basil’s Cathedral, which is actually a collection of several chapels (each onion dome is a separate chapel) all joined together.

18.0 mm || 1/2500 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

22.0 mm || 1/1600 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

My earliest memories, and probably the moment that I knew I wanted to visit Russia, was when Mr. Rogers visited some 22 years ago. I have this distinct image of Mr. Rogers with St. Basil’s in the background.

Fred traveled to Russia to tape special segments for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. © 1987 Family Communications, Inc.

Fred traveled to Russia to tape special segments for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. © 1987 Family Communications, Inc.

After St. Basil’s, I quite tired (Having only actually slept four hours). I came back to the hostel and took a nap.

A couple hours later, Kate came in to tell me that Ryan had just walked in the door. While I was comprehending the words she was saying, I was too tired to do anything. I mumbled something about, “oh, great!” and then fell back asleep.

So what did happen to Ryan? Not a lot really. He stumbled around for a bit. He tried to use his phone (from the UK) but it hasn’t been working…no signal. He tried to find an Internet cafe, but there seems to be a dearth of them in Moscow (I myself haven’t even seen one, although I haven’t been looking hard either). Eventually, he headed to Red Square and wondered around for a bit. He was finally able to figure out where the hostel was and how to get there. Then he wondered in around 6pm or so.

In short, Ryan got lost in Moscow and lived to tell about it.

After dinner, Gary, Ryan, Lizzy, Kate, and I wandered down near Lomonosov Moscow State University.

29.0 mm || 0.8 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

We caught the last glimpses of the sunset and watched a group of fire dancers before catching one of the last trains back.

18.0 mm || 0.6 || f/6.3 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

62.0 mm || 5 sec || f/18.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

31.0 mm || 1/30 || f/4.0 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia


Updated Itinerary

Progess is being made! I’m calling this Itinerary v0.2. It appears that the only country that will need a visa is Russia. Thus, I’m going to going to start my travels there since it will have to be the most planned part of this trip. I talked with Jeff last night, as he had traveled to Russia several years ago, and got some good information on places to go. I’m hoping to have trip start and end dates locked down and reserved by the end of March, along with all the Russian parts locked down and reserved. 

I also talked with Quinn and Charlie, both of whom have indicated they would at least be interested in doing some traveling with me as well. I have calls in to Katelyn and Erin, both of whom have been and are currently in Turkey, respecitvely.

Below is a list of places that I think I would like to visit, in roughtly the order that I would visit them. I’ve also added notes (mostly to myself) about things I’d like to do there. I think this seems like a more managable list than previously. I’m also trying to setup a framework of things to do, however still allow the trip to progress organically.

  • Day 1: 
    Seattle, Washington 
    Dulles, Washington, DC
  • Airplane/10 hrs/UA964
  • Day 2: Moscow, Russia12
    • Red Square
    • The Kremlin
    • GUM
  • Airplane/1.25 hrs/$60 USD/Rossiya – Russian Airlines3
  • Day 6: St. Petersburg, Russia45
  • Bus/6 hrs/€30 ($40 USD)/EuroLines
  • Day 10: Tallin, Estonia6
  • France:
    • Paris, France (Paris Air Show – 15 to 21 June 2009)
    • Toulouse, France7
    • La Barre, France8
    • Vélizy, France9
    • Bidos, France 10
  • Italy:
    • Rome, Italy
    • Venice, Italy
    • Grottaglie, Italy11
    • Agnone, Italy12
  • Switzerland
    • Arbon, Switzerland
    • Interlaken, Switzerland13
  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • Poland
  • Ukraine
    • I’ve heard you can visit Chernobyl…could be cool.
  • Hungary
  • Turkey
  • Germany -> Seattle (UA8718)


  • Sweden14
  • Denmark->Seattle (UA9394)
  • Romania
  • Macedonia






  7. 787 Production Stop: Groupe Latécoère 

  8. Birthplace of Jean-Luc Picard 

  9. 787 Production Stop: Messier-Dowty 

  10. 787 Production Stop: Messier-Dowty 

  11. 787 Production Stop: 

  12. We visited Agnone a couple of years, it’s where my maternal great-grandfather was born, and  I’ve wanted to return here to just spend a few days hanging out 

  13. I’ve heard this is a must 

  14. 787 Production Stop: Saab