Xmas/New Year - Moscow & Brussels

(21/01/05)

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Well, we left St. Petersburg and travelled towards Moscow, spending a night in a place called Novgorod. Novgorod is damn boring, the only interesting thing about it, is there is another placed called Novgorod close buy, just to fu<k up any tourist plans.

We spent New years in Moscow's Red Square. It sounds a lot greater that it really was. Basically all the pubs closed at 9pm and there were four hundred billion cops everywhere. I don't think I'm exaggerating if I say there were more cops than people...

So we stood around in the cold trying to amuse ourselves:

Until the great fireworks display over St. Basil's Cathedral (middle bottom) and the Kremlin (tiny part of it to the right):

I'm glad I did new years in the Red Square just to tick it off my list of things to do, but I wouldn't recommend it, unless you stay in your hotel getting pissed before going out.

There were other cool building in Moscow, not as cool as St. Petersburg, but Moscow does have the Ghostbusters building, which happened to be quite close to where we were staying:

We did find ourselves spending a lot of time at the Hard Rock cafe which was almost opposite where we were staying. They all spoke English, had decent prices and great service, things that were lacking at a lot of other places we went too. After a few weeks in Russia, you welcome those things.

Another reason we spent a fair bit of time there was because you could buy 2 litres of beer for 5:

As you might have guessed, we drank quite a few of those, resulting in this amusing video of Cullen (not to be missed!). It also resulted in us leaving the Hard Rock cafe not paying out bill after spending all evening eating and drinking there, which meant we were chased down the road by our waitress demanding the 6,100 ruble's we owed. That works out to be over 100 and roughly a weeks salary for most Russians. Yes, we paid in the end.

Here's some famous horse statue by the Kremlin:

Here's me by St. Basil's Cathedral in the Red Square:

The inside of St. Basil's Cathedral is the exact opposite of how the outside looks. Inside is this really dark and cramped rabbit warren. You actually only get a good view when you take a photo with a flash:

Normally you wouldn't really see the paintings on the wall.

Here's a view towards the Red Square (which is on the other side of building to left) and corner of Kremlin:

Inside the Kremlin is where the president chills out, along with 1,000 guards (no shiit) to look after him. There are a bunch of churches inside and other buildings like this:

Here's a broken 200 tonne bell. Apparently just after it was installed there was a fire and monks pored water over the bell to cool it down and broke the damn thing. It was never rung, but was designed to be heard over 80Km/s away:

Bet they felt pretty stink when they broke that!

Here's a view towards the Kremlin at night:

And a KICK ASS statue we saw across the river, it was massive:

After Moscow we flew to Brussels for a couple of nights and checked it out. The centre square of Brussels is where all the cool buildings are, all in once place:

We basically just drank heaps of beer and ate chocolates. Belgium produces a craap load of beers. We went to once place that had 800 different Belgium beers but didn't quite manage to get through all of them.

Brussels also has the statue of the little dude peeing, which was quite underwhelming:

And here is a photo of Cullen behind Richard, who is about to get struck down by Satan:

I couldn't reproduce that photo no matter how hard I tried. I particularly like the "face" staring at Richard (it's not been photo-shopped in any way).

And that was out trip! Apart from all the shiit you have to go through with Visa's and getting stamps in the cities you stay in and the fact that there is no queuing culture in Russia, Russia was cool.


By Tony Baker: email