The week that was

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It’s been a week since we picked up our car and we’ve had a few adventures so far.  Perhaps the first days of camping can best be summarised by Nic’s injury tally:

Night 1 – Ripped my nail park back and crushed my finger in one move (Stonehenge).

Night 2 – Beautiful Wales is where Nic tripped over the toe ball and has a nasty bruise to show for it.  No where near the tears and pain of night 1 though.  (Port Eyon – coastal town outside Swansea, south west of Cardiff).  Incidently, this is also where our Welsh neighbours gave us a Tom Jones CD for our travels through Wales.

Night 3 – Whilst unpacking the tent outside Shrewsbury (not too far from Birmingham) Waldu accidently flicked the straps back and they flung into Nic’s head.  Thankfully no bruises. 

Night 4 – Finally an injury free night, but there was a little teary ‘what are we doing’ moment the next day when we re-packed the car for the 3rd time.  We bought way too much stuff (Thistlespot, Lakes District – next to a pub).

At the moment ‘the beast’ is parked in a long term carpark while we catch up with friends in Scotland.  We are missing ‘the beast’ and hope we find her safe and sound on collection…fingers crossed.

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Car Collection

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Early Morning at Stonehedge

We arrived in Southampton to collect our car and completed the paperwork in less than 5 minutes – so far so good.  Got the keys, loaded the tent and then when to start the car.  No luck.  The battery was dead flat.  Apparently they jump started it to get it out of the containers, but she wasn’t going to go a second time. After three hours of trying to start it, and refitting the tanks and tyres to the roof, we were rescued by the AA.  Thankfully our RACQ membership gives us reciprocal benefits in most places we will be travelling.  Then we were off.  Excited, exhausted, and enthusiastic, we decided to try and get some sleep for the night.  What better place to set up camp than right next to Stonehenge…a perfect free campsite with a spectacular view.

 

London Calling

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Nic was reunited be her favourite mode of transport…the tube.  Some love it, most loathe it, but  Nic thinks it’s the best invention since sliced bread. 

With a couple of days to kill in London (waiting for the Moroccan Embassy to open Monday morning), and with us both having already seen the sites, what else was there to do?  Ah, a Jack the Ripper tour!

Smile for the camera

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One thing we noticed as we went through all of the tourist attractions throughout Russia was the way in which the Russians suddenly lit up for the camera.  We went to Peterhoff, outside the city, for a day of site seeing (or statue seeing) in the enormous palace grounds.  Pretty cool to think that all of the fountains (and there were a lot) run off hydrolic water streams not pumps, and this was conceived hundreds of years ago.  But I digress…honestly, you have never seen anything like these posers.  Why?  Here’s a few theories we developed: 

a)      They are putting together a model portfolio

b)      They are putting together a portfolio for russianbride.com

c)      They love themselves – and so many are super beautiful women so that is easy to understand

d)      All of the above

So Waldu thought he’d demonstrate a few poses. 

S-PAS-eba (thanks) Saint Petersburg

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Church of spilt blood

St Petersburg is the cultural heart of Russia so we were expecting something a bit different from the business centre of the capital, Moscow.  We weren’t disappointed.   It looks very European as are the food choices (and sometimes the prices).  Beautiful tall women walk down cobble stone paths in nine inch heels effortless (Nic is so pleased) and men drink a beer in the warm sun as they wander to the station after work (the sun sets about 11pm).  

We have never seen so many museums and palaces in one place before in our life.  It was all a bit of a blur after our first few hours (which started with a 5am arrival), but then we got our bearings and Nic worked out most of the Russian alphabet to decipher the street names.  The city looks even more beautiful by night both on the water and in the heart of the city. 

 We feasted on borsch (cold beetroot soup), pelmeni (dumplings cross ravioli without the sauce), chicken kiev and stroganoff (they both come from Russia apparently) at the Soviet Cafe and reflected on what it would have been like to live here in those days.  We have found the modern history (last 50 years) the most interesting.  A country with a lot going for it.  If only the Russians would smile a little.

Back in the USSR

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Waldu met a new vodka drinking buddy, an interesting old chap who lives in the vodka museum. 

He told us about how Russians used to need a vodka card to buy a bottle, and you could only buy two bottles a month.  Of course that law didn’t last too long.

Nic befriended him too, but it wasn’t long before a few too many vodkas made our new friend turn a bit wild. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good thing Waldu found a big gun and saved the day.  I promise, we aren’t bringing home the fur.

 

42 hours in Moscow

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So much to see, so little time.  First it was off to check out the sites and pose for some pics, orientating ourselves to the city (ok, truth is that we had a private guide for the first 3 hours!).

Stopped for some food at Moo Moos and a cold beer in the park.  Seriously they drink everywhere.  It is illegal to sell alcohol or cigarettes outside a school or uni though – why can’t we have this rule?  See the beer page for drinking pics and prices.

Nic mastered the metro and we toured the artwork at different stations.  We caught up with fellow travellers, saw the Kremlin and Lenin’s body, tacky souvenir market, vodka museum and a little taste, and picked up a new hat for Waldu.  Back to central Moscow and it was time to lock in our love, literally, before heading off to St Petersburg on our last train trip (thankfully).

and Nic threw away the key

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