I awoke very early on my 44th birthday to realise my wife had given me a present beyond imagination. A present I will never forget. A gift that you cannot put a price on. Something you never imagine you will have.
We caught the 7.05 Sapsan high speed train between St P and Moscow. The premier Russian line. It can hold a thousand passengers and travels up to 200kph. There are conductors per carriage that check your ticket, movies and free food like a flight and pointless merchandising souvenirs also like a flight. It was very efficient and unlike British trains, on time.
I know normally our readers are only interested in our food pictures but today you are in for a treat. Hold onto your napkins as I indulge in pictures of my birthday food.
Free chicken butty on train:-
Crimean Fizz and birthday cake Alison pulled out of her hat:-
We caught the tube to near the hostel and as we didn’t have a map turned on the smartphone GPS and walked to the hostel. You know the drill – check in but you’re too early so leave bags and head out but this time we chatted to a young enthusiastic German lad who spoke fluent Russian and English and was on his way home to start his PHD. By the time conversation was petering out the hostel man said our room was ready so we actually did check in.
We walked to Red Square and on the way stopped for a canteen lunch. I apologize for the autocorrect American spelling of apologise but workman tools etc.
Sorry I digress. I apologise for the blurry picture but in my hungry haste it wasn’t taken correctly and I only post it here for historical prosperity.
Anyway Red square was historic and beautiful. Surrounded by destinctive, individual, recognisable buildings but it was an oblong in Al’s opinion.
Wonderful Moscow tube again to an area supposedly good for food. Exit tube and we spied a building which we both wanted to cross a six lane road full of speeding drivers to get a better look at.
Food area is bad but we pass the Finnish equivalent of McDonald’s and our curiosity gets the best of us. It tastes of cardboard.
Full of gas, we walk off the indigestion for the culinary highlight (so far) of the day of afternoon cake. I didn’t realise my wife was a British imperialist or a Victorian lady but when we travel, 4-5 o’clock for her means cake and tea. I’m not a man to start a row, so acquiesce and order my birthday cake. Triple chocolate with jasmine tea. Lady Victoria has lemon meringue and spiced currant tea.
Back to the hostel where I was stripped down and hosed to try and remove parasites.
We read, we chilled, we realised our body clocks no longer ring to the 9.30 – 6.30 sleep bell that they chimed to for the last seven years and at 9.30 we went out for food.
The rules of our backpackers prohibited alcohol. Wow. They didn’t mention that in their sales pitch.
Anyway, now I’m 44 and with age comes wisdom. They may ban alcohol in our backpackers but that’s for the noisy 20 year olds disrupting everyone else’s sleep not for the wiley 44 year olds. For my birthday tea we headed for the supermarket and bought salad, cheese, essential pickles, crab crisps and the prohibited vodka. Can you spot it in the photo?
For this years birthday treat I didn’t clean my teeth, simply gargled with vodka. (Sorry mother and father-in-law, its once a year)
Thanks for all your kind birthday wishes today, I really appreciate them all. We both love and miss you all when we do these trips but I’d especially like to thank Meg, Isobel and Billy my nieces and nephew who sent a wonderful video message. Great singing, keep it up. Your parents want to hear you practice more.
Gillian, this is for you