Our train arrived on time at 8.24 this morning, not bad after a 13 hour journey. We had donned extra layers before leaving the train. My personal travel agent had everything sussed for the metro but he could do nothing about the rush hour people and all the steps. We realised there was no way we and our luggage could compete with the never-ending stream of Muscovites pushing their way to the escalators so opted for a less popular escalator resulting in a longer but quieter route which sadly involved negotiating many more stairs.
The Moscow underground is a fantastic and cheap system which has loads of very long and very steep escalators. In fact I had just commented to John how difficult it must be with a pushchair when a guy moved in front of us in a wheelchair. This particular escalator was, at approx 400 metres, the longest and steepest we have been on. I must confess, to my shame, that I had the very selfish thought of concern for my own safety. After 2 metro changes, masses of steps and buckets of sweat we made it. The last lot of steps were 66! Donnie and Cath will remember this with their steamer trunks.
We were lucky to be able to access our room so early in the day and freshen up before heading off out. My personal travel agent had sussed out the availability of a multi-journey metro ticket which saved queuing each time. Our mission, which we chose to accept, was to find the office where we were to collect our train tickets for Harbin. Next came the most amazing coincidence. We were puzzling over our directions when this Russian woman, with not a word of English, noticed the crude map we were holding, stopped and then motioned us to follow her. She led us between apartment blocks and a children’s playground into an unassuming building which turned out to be our destination and her place of work. Serendipity.
Tickets secure, the rest of the day was our own. We opted for a bus tour which allowed us to see the sights in the relative warmth ie. above freezing (midday temp was minus 15.)
After a pit stop for tonic, we came back to the hotel early to get warm and catch up on the blog. The latter being slightly more than problematic. I couldn’t work out how to post a blog I had saved in draft and internet access was just a smidgen wayward.
Have just finished dinner in the hotel’s buffet restaurant – no serenading as we had last time, possibly because it’s now run as a Best Western.
Will try to attach a couple of pics….. then to bed.