Kade kneels next to a stream formed by the San Francisco Glacier, about two hours outside Santiago, Chile.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Russia, Day 2


 
 
Day Two 

We got up after a very good night’s sleep and made our way to a coffee shop.  It was raining a bit.  Our plan was to walk to the Chisty Prudy area to get a massage at a well-known banya and perhaps have a meal on the diner tram.  We started walking. We got to an area where we got very lost.  It was very hard deciphering street names and then pinpointing their locale on our guidebook map.  The rain kept coming down, but luckily we had our umbrella.  In order to get our bearings and rest our weary legs, we ducked into a chocolate store.  There, in a very elegant setting, we sat at a small table and proceeded to order some real hot chocolate – made with chocolate bars and fresh nuts.  It was the richest dessert I’ve had.  It got the serotonin pumping!  A young man pointed out how we would get to Chisty Prudy.  After paying our tab and resting, we were off again.   

We found a metro station in the Chisty Prudy area.  I had my hopes on hopping on the diner tram for a sandwich and a coffee.  We waited at what we believed to be the appropriate tram stop.  The weather was still yucky and there was a bit of frustration on our faces.  Eventually, we decided that the tram was out of service and that we should walk along one side of the boulevard.  This was the Chisty Prudy area – a hotspot in Moscow.  Unfortunately, the park, which had a beautiful pond, was under reconstruction.  So, we walked on until we found a travel agent.  We wanted to find reasonable airline tickets to Volgograd.  No real luck.  After getting some lunch suggestions, we walked until we reached the end of the boulevard park.   

As we were walking, we talked about getting some lunch.  We saw a restaurant that offered a business lunch.  As it turns out, it was a restaurant I had researched on the Internet.  It had a well-stocked, clean buffet.  We took a table and ordered a business lunch and few other items from the menu.  The restaurant had good service and an interesting atmosphere.  For drinks, we ordered a Russia specialty, Kvass. Kvass is made with fermented bread and water.  I thought it was tasty.  Kade ordered a fruit tea.  It was also very good.  The meal was pork balls with barbecue sauce.  We also had some rice, some soup and a very good salad.   

After eating, we walked back to the metro and got off at a stop where the Dostoyevsky Museum is.  Well, we quickly got lost.  We were looking for a certain street name and hospital (used to be where Dostoyevsky lived as boy).  No luck.  We were walking and walking.  I finally asked a man if he knew the location.  No luck again. He was very nice and tried speaking some English.  Eventually, we made it to what we thought was the hospital but security would not let us through the gate.  However, even they were very friendly.  They laughed along with us when I was trying to speak Russian.  Near the gate was a tram station. We managed to get a man to help us figure out which tram would take us to a metro station.  He told us a number and even helped us figure out how to buy a ticket on board.  The whole time, as we sitting, he looked at us to reassure us that he would let us know which stop was ours.  Also, at some point, a lady that looked and acted a bit deranged, came and sat near Kade.  I was standing.  This lady proceeded to tell us, in very broken English and some Russian, the metro stop was coming up.  We made it to a metro station and then back to our metro stop.  The walk from the metro back to our hostel was very tiring – and later became a joke of ours.  We talked about that being the one thing we dreaded all day.  It was indeed a long distance.  And, to think we’d have to face that hike at the end of every day!  On this day, we came back and literally collapsed on the bed.  I think we went to bed in the afternoon at 4 PM and woke up some 13 hours later!  I only recall waking up once to munch on some lemon cookies and drink some water.  That night I had the soundest, best sleep ever!

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