We travelled by train, which was an adventure of its own! Little tiny fold down bunks and a itty bitty table. The gear nested in every nook and cranny that didn't have limbs in it. Freezing cold tundra flew past outside the frozen windows! The train stopped at all the little villages; a people mover. Birch trees endlessly stood, tall white, chopsticks. The little wooden homes had gardens full of cabbage and beet plants, with animal shelters connected to the home...sharing the warmth of the fire with all living things.
We travelled to St. Petersburg, Riga, Latvia, Vilnius, Lithuania, and ended in Moscow. The war had just gotten over in Lithuania and people were standing in bread lines and digging in garbage bins of hotels to retrieve coffee grounds, and any scraps available and inviting. There was no heat in the city because the power station had been destroyed. We had armed guards outside our doors to stop any thieves or dark intentioned characters. The crew went to the bread line and one of them bought 10 Hershey bars for $10 and gave them to the crew and band, who were nearby. The women's faces consisted of astonishment and shock, seeing someone spend so much moola on chocolate bars! They had barely scraped up the 30 cents needed for a loaf of bread. Throughout the tour, we were all generous with the Rubles and gave them all away, to elderly people, mother's, gypsies and to churches.
We had a bit of trouble in Riga, which is a beautiful city on the Baltic Sea. One of the crew picked up a girl in the restaurant at night. He felt sorry for her and spent the night making her laugh. When he woke up in the morning, he wasn't laughing at all! His wallet and all his money from the entire tour had disappeared! He called the police, who informed him the girl was most likely part of an organized crime ring. All the while, the Little Miss stood and smiled...Palm's up!! The kicker was when the officer said that the guys may want to move to another room because there was a good chance they would have snipers attacking them, because they had reported the incident. We were happy to head out of Dodge!
Moscow is always inviting and interesting! Giant buildings all Ghostbuster-ed out! Lenin's Tomb, the Kremlin, St. Basil's Cathedral...everywhere you look there is a monumental view of the coolest architecture you can envision! The shopping is glorious and plentiful! We have been there scores of times now and see something new every time we return!
|Max and Me in front of Lenin's tomb..|
|...overlooking St. Basil's Cathedral|
|Aunt Natasha's apt.|