Friday, 26 November 2010

Привет Москве!

I promised my grandmother I'd take a photo of me in Red Square wearing a fur hat that belonged to my grandfather.
My train pulled into it's station in Moscow at 4am. Ouch. I don't even remember which station it was. Moscow has heaps, and after only a few hours sleep everything was a bit blurry.
What made it worse was the fact it was raining. Not snowing, raining. Damn, my umbrella was packed up somewhere in the middle of my big bag, I didn't plan for rain. This is Russia, it's supposed to snow, not rain.
But never mind. I was collected at the end of the platform by a driver who was to take me to my hotel (big thanks to Simon at Flower Travel in Melbourne, your arrangements have all been flawless). Seeing as it was 4am, I had no idea what I was going to do when I got to the hotel, but I'd cross that bridge when I came to it.
So I packed my stuff into a car and away we went. The driver had the radio blaring a commercial station when we took off, and in case it wasn't already loud enough, he cranked it up to 11.
So my introduction to Moscow was driving through the city at breakneck speeds at 4am with my sleepy ears bleeding to Michael Jackson, Abba, Aerosmith, and the Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up". I had a huge grin on my face. I couldn't have chosen a better set list. Welcome to Moscow. Leave your political-correctness on the train. Everything was perfect.

After a while we arrived at my hotel. It was a bit further out of the centre of the city than I expected, but not far from two metro stations, so transport wouldn't be a problem.
The driver dumped me and my stuff at the hotel door and then screamed off to the sound of Elvis fading into the dark.
It was about 4:30am. I figured I might be able to leave my bags in the hotel and then go exploring for an hour or so until the Metro started for the day, then I could head into the city and come back to check into the hotel after lunch.
But I walked into the hotel and was greeted by Katerina, the most wonderful and helpful receptionist I've met on my trip so far. She sorted me out and allowed me to check in to my room at 4:30am (no charge for that night). Awesome! I was upstairs and asleep within 5 minutes.

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