OR A VERY DIFFERENT RUSSIA.
From elegant Tsarist St Petersburg to hardcore Kremlin Moscow!! Very different but also very exciting. I’d never visited before and my early morning train ride had been superb. We are now getting towards the trainy bit, the big bad boy, the Trans Siberian Express. This is the modern train bit!
ALERT! Just had my yellow fever jab and got a Peppa Pig plaster for being brave! Roll on Colombia at the end of August. I’ll finally experience going live!!
This was the only train bit that I booked myself over there myself. I did it on my IPad at the hotel and it was very easy, I only needed the staff to print it off for me It’s a super modern train decked out like an aeroplane, seat pockets crammed with a safety card, train carriage plan, train travel mag and a menu and gifts magazine!! The ” PODSTAKNIKS” were in a smart blue uniform and matching hat. I foolishly got wildly excited believing now that the Trans Siberian Express would be the same!! WRONG REBECCA, WRONG!! This is a new track with new trains, not the coal shovelling but lovely Trans Siberian! The three hours whizzed by with my first view of Russia by train and it was soooo beautiful. I can safely say I really didn’t have a bum time or disappointments throughout my whole trip to Russia. I would recommend it very highly for old birds travelling alone.
OFF THE TRAIN ARRIVING IN MOSCOW.
Thank god for a lovely young man who had chatted to me on the train (bet he wished he hadn’t) who I shared a cab with. Although the Crown Plaza- Tretyakovskaya was posh it had recently been renamed so the cab driver went round in circles on a hideous one-way system there for a while and my heart sank. Was Moscow going to be naughty?
Really funny. A horror film instead of pretty pictures!
When I arrived, however, the hotel was lovely and very posh so I literally threw my gear into my room and headed for the bar!! Since I arrived in Russia I’d been very good but now I wanted a cocktail before anything! Three cocktails later and a very pricey amuse-bouche trotted back to my room. The weather was foul anyway I thought crossly, I wasn’t going out in that slushy mushy snow. I would wait until tomorrow. Gone was the bright cold atmosphere of St Petersburg and hello warmer but wetter Moscow. Even I, the huge culture vulture, had my limits I would jolly well have a day off.
(TOP TIP DON’T DO THIS!!!) And so the mighty fall. Early dinner with a cocktail to start and shurely hic, some of that splendid wine with this excellent dinner?! Luvly. Hic. Oh, go on just a likkle brandy. And so to bed, weaving amongst the more sober guests, I went to my room. Night night.
THE NEXT DAY IN MOSCOW AND HOW I FELT!!
ME THE NEXT DAY!
Well, I don’t know! An old bird can make a schoolgirls error! I felt pants! Never mind, you’re allowed to drink too much as long as it’s in the safety of your own hotel! A cab ride into the centre was so traffic-jammed it was a culture shock. I’d been used to a much quieter experience in St Petersburg! The National museum there is OK but a bit of a let down after beloved St. Petersburg but I nobly staggered around then went onto Red Square around the corner. It was completely obscured by a Xmas funfare that only left a little space for poor old Lenin and Gum. I went into the latter and it was horrendous. Overpriced and hideously loud music blasting from its many speakers. Also, there is a vertiginous drop from the many bridges when you’re hungover. Not to be recommended!
Respite was to be had in Red Square appropriately by the mausoleum and church then after Kremlin that I marched past quick smart in my military coat! I wasn’t sure how well the very aggressive looking soldiers here would take to it. The walking thing isn’t so great in Moscow as they have a very busy motorway like traffic system and crossings are few and far between so I abandoned my Pushkin Gallery experience and went over the bridge. I found a restaurant there and had the best potato dish ever! Recipe below!! It would seem that both the Poles and Russians love their wild mushrooms and cream (me too!) and use them to great effect in many dishes.
After all the walking I managed to get lost finding my hotel. I was a quivering wreck when I got back. A minor detour had taken me way off course due to my ambitious attempt for another gallery. Finally beaten by it all and whimpering I made a last defiant stop at a very pricey little supermarket for grub for the train then straight to my room to collapse I would have to return the following day to buy some more sensible things for the journey but heigh-ho!
RUSSIAN POTATOES WITH WILD MUSHROOMS.
Quick and oh so yummy. I’ve regularly scoffed them back home, they’re really easy to make for one person (or indeed a dinner party!)
- A COUPLE OF BIG YELLOW WAXY POTATOES
- HALF AN ONION
- CLOVE OF GARLIC
- BIG HANDFUL OF CHANTERELLES OR MIXED WILD MUSHROOMS
- OIL TO FRY A PINCH OF THYME IN IT
- CREAM TO FINISH
Fry up thinly sliced spuds, garlic and onion for enough time for it all to soften then chuck in the mushrooms sizzle at the top of a hot oven after putting in the cream. You can have this with some protein, if you’re a veggie then grate cheese on top. It’s really delicious and only five million calories!!
OVER AND OUT FROM REBECCA THE COSSACK
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