Hey there APJ Crew,
The honeymoon is so enormous, covers so much ground and history it’s mind-blowing. Thank goodness I’m doing it with the easiest travel partner. Jin is rarely ruffled or sharp, is excellent at navigation and planning and is usually incredibly grateful to be having this amazing adventure. Everything seems just a little bit more wonderful because of him.
I’d like to take a moment to say that our stay in the Hilton Leningradskaya in Moscow was superb, they exceeded every expectation at all turns. It’s 5 Metro stops on a direct route from Red Square and has two major International Train Networks terminus’ as well.
Scent Diary: 20.5 – 26.5.2019
Our last day in St Petersburg, and our last day with our guide Nicolai. The boys conspired to make it about as jam packed as is humanly possible. We had been out drinking, dancing and singing Karaoke till the wee hours of the morning and all of us met a little bit bleary. The below pic is us at around 1am, all of us the better for drink.
Our first destination was the Peterhof Palace & Museums Complex about an hour out of St Petersburg by car (I advise taking the hovercraft, 30 minutes to the doorstep). It is Russias answer to Versailles and in terms of spectacular fountains so far outstrips the French bastion it’s impossible to compare. SO MUCH WATER! It’s interiors are done in both Rococo and Imperial styles and the opening grand staircase is pretty freaking spectacular. All the rooms are, especially the parquet floors that have been lovingly restored in recent times. Although Versailles is more grand Peterhof is much fresher, more cared for and presented. In comparison Versailles looks a little tired and weary.
After wards we went and had Russian peasant food. I had the Borscht! YUM!
Jin absolutely loves farmers markets and all other kinds so Nicolai took us to one of the St Petersburg ones, full of workers and mothers getting their families food for the day/week as well as a fantastic array of the usual crap found at markets but with a definite Russian twist. Jin was in heaven.
Home and we got ready for our big St Petersburg splurge. What could be more regal to wear to a big event than Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur? Nothing, so I wore shitloads of it.
Here we are at the Mariinsky Theatre seeing Swan Lake. O M F G! It was so fabulous. You might notice my shirt. Bought back in 2014 it’s the most beautiful pastel yellow floral linen Tommy Bahama that’s sat unworn and nearly good-willed 50 times. It FINALLY fits me so I brought it along for this magical night. YAY!
Back to the hotel, packed, checked out, and onto the St Petersburg to Moscow train. Jin sprung for First Class and it was so posh! Here I am dead asleep before we even left the station.
At 8am we arrived in Moscow. Slept, fed and rested. It was the perfect way to travel. No waiting at airports, drama at immigration or shopping at Duty Free (always costly) and we could just walk on and off with our luggage. Heaven.
We purchased a three day public transport card that cost us AUD$10 each. Can be used across Trains, Buses and Trams. BLOODY good value.
Our hotel, the Liningradskaya Hilton was directly across the railway square and across the road. BIG win.
Jin’s AmEx gives us a Hilton Gold Membership which means we were allowed to wait in the Exec Lounge while our room was made ready. Early check in/late check out, room upgrade, exec lounge and myriad extras had us feeling like royalty from the moment we arrived.
Our room in the 16th floor was spacious and beautiful.
A couple of my mates had given us directives to eat Moscovite Peasant Food at the very ra-sha-sha Dr Zhivago. We had SO MUCH FOOD! Borscht and Ormulu (disgusting fishy shit, bleaugh, Jin loved it). In the below pic you’ll see Jin exclaiming over Fish pancakes, my Russian Stroganoff pancakes and our Russian Pork/Beef Dumplings we had for mains. Bloody delicious stuff and not outrageously expensive.
We had set aside our first day in Moscow to do laundry. Yes, terribly prosaic but it had to be done. Unfortunately there aren’t many laundromats in the city and we had to travel 40 minutes by Metro and Tram to get there, then it was hidden two stories underground but ultra clean, with WiFi and even had a toilet. You don’t need to bring cleaning products, it’s all included in the price. AUD$4 to was and AUD$3 to dry.
We caught a bus back, it went from just up the road to the laundromat to our Liningradskaya Railway Square. Perfect.
I know Jin looks disgruntled but this is his sleepy morning face. We are enjoying the lavish breakfast the Hilton puts on. It was WAY yummier than the picture gives credit for.
Our favourite way to travel in any country, public transport. The Metro Stations are so gorgeous that it’s no hardship.
We arrived at the Kremlin to buy our tickets at 8.30am. Lined up and at 9am Jin got the Diamond show for 12 midday, I got the Kremlin Armoury for 10.30am. You must get there early because tickets are limited each day and you don’t want to miss out.
We got ourselves a cuppa and sat in the Alexandrine Gardens to await our entry time. You can go ahead and line up almost immediately, it’s a slow process.
It is illegal in Russia to be gay or display gay or give a positive image of gayness. FUCK THAT RUSSIA! We are doing our own little bit of civil disobedience in front of the Kremlin. Love is love, our love is equal, we are equal. We happily risk jail and expulsion to make our point.
Inside is magnificent. We only took a few photos and got in so much trouble they made us turn our phones off before going into the Diamond exhibition.
Afterwards we wandered around to GUM the enormous department store/mall. Inside we ended up with arms spritzed with Montale Jasmine Oud (very jasmine, hardly oud), Guerlain Imagine (new Paris exclusive bee puffer, pretty but no statement frag), Diorissima and Holy Peony (pretty floral things, Diorissima a modern LotV)
Jin sprayed some Montale Oudmazing but didn’t love it
More kissing in front of iconic Russian sites, this time St. Basil’s Cathedral
I was told by someone here to read A Gentleman In Moscow. Said to be set in the Hotel Metropol just off Red Square. Couldn’t come to Moscow and not dine there could we? Well, the restaurant proper is being renovated till next week but we did have a lovely Lobby Bar Lunch.
Came back to the Hilton and had a nap. Then we headed down to the Swimming Pool/Sports area. It’s only 12.5m long, like our pool at the house I grew up in but four lengths make 50m so I did about 400m and then Hot Tubbed for a while. Then Jin and I sat in the Dry Sauna for half an hour. So relaxing. Showered and left feeling good.
Later, we went down to the local supermarket and grabbed some salads & meats which we ate in our room.
Spent a couple of hours in the Executive Lounge blogging, catching up on eMails and doing some Social Media.
Back to the room and slept like dead people.
Slept late today, bathed, breakfasted and slothed around the room for a while.
Our only planned adventure was a self guided tour of the Moscow #1 Red Circle Metro Line Stations. There rate 12 in all and I have chosen to share the six most glamorous with you. The trains come every 2-3 minutes and the whole route takes about an hour and a half to do with stops for photography. That AUD$10 three day public transport card has been incredibly handy.
We stopped half way because I had to wee. Found ourselves in a HUGE shopping mall. The had Bellagio Dancing Fountains in the centre near the elevators and lifts. Something you may not know about me is that i LOVE dancing fountains. Like sicko, crazy, could watch them forever, desperately love them. Jin just rolls his eyes.
We did happen across a Trussardi shop. I love their bags and that their logo is the greyhound. Jin bought himself this very freaking stylish backpack and his Mum and handbag (it will be her first ever Italian leather bag, bright royal blue. I’ll show you when we give it to her). Jin also bought me a Trussardi Polo shirt in green with a design in black printed all over, including tiny greyhound heads. It will be put away till my birthday. It’s freaking gorgeous, totally naughty of him. I love Jin.
Poor little fucker is spent. He fell asleep standing up on the Metro on the way home.
I put Jin to bed and came down to the Hilton Executive Lounge where I blogged, eMailed and social media-d a happy couple of hours away with pots of tea.
Later we decided to do something we do in any city we have a couple of spare hours. we jumped on the first tram we found and rode it to the end of the line. It was a bit dark by 10.30pm when we arrived at our destination so we couldn’t wander around but we’d seen quite a bit of Moscow that wasn’t the city. Then we took two different trams to get back through the twinkling lights of Moscow at night.
Afterwards we wanted to have a couple of drinks in the glamorous lobby bar but they wanted about AUD$30 for an alcoholic beverage, we declined that adventure and went up to our room.
Spent this morning at breakfast, bathing and packing. We have a late check out so can wander straight across for the Trans-Siberian train at 1pm. There may be radio silence for the next three days depending on WiFi access.
OK, I just took a minute in a Railway station to upload these photos of the last few days.
Our home for 3 nights. The Trans Siberian Railway
Every second day a train with First class comes but we are in an off day. We are in Second class with very functional room and rudimentary shared bathroom situation without a shower/bath facility.
Here is our crew.
Every few hours we get a stop and wander around to stretch our legs.
I fell madly in love with a young Evangelical Missionary boy, Daniel. Couldn’t you just…….
We had dinner in the dining car. Jin FORCED me to drink Russian Vodka but the bottle didn’t last very long. We were sad.
We were sad when Daniel had to leave us.
We didn’t have enough time with WiFi to up load more. Sorry.
It’s YOUR turn. What’s happening in your world?
Did you do anything Fragrant, Fun, Friends, Family or even had some less than Fabulous news you want to share? Now’s the time, in the comments below.
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