We arrived in Moscow this morning at just gone 07:15, and somehow managed to find the way to our hostel in under 40-minutes. For the next few days we will be staying in ‘Napoleon Hostel’ in central Moscow, which is ideally situated less than a five-minute walk from Red Square, and had many positive reviews regarding the amenities and the friendliness of the staff. After ringing the doorbell we were eventually let into the hostel, whereupon I had the following rather frosty exchange with the severely hung over looking receptionist. ME: ‘Hello, sorry it’s a bit early isn’t it.’ HER: ‘Yes it is.’ ME: ‘Er, okay. We have a reservation’ HER: ‘Good for you. Check in is at 12.’ ME: ‘OK (awkward pause). Can we leave our bags somewhere?’ HER: ‘Try the corridor.’ ME: ‘Er thanks. See you later I guess.’ HER: ‘Yep.’ Not the most auspicious of starts, and exactly the kind of soothing tones that I longed to hear after a rather sleepless night.
Shaking off the passive hostility of the hostel we dumped our bags, and made our way over to Red Square, where we marvelled at St. Basil’s cathedral, but decided that impressive as it was we both preferred the ‘Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood’ in St. Petersburg. At 10:00 Lenin’s tomb opened (not literally of course, as that would just be REALLY weird), and so we went to go and pay our respects to his mummified remains; a rather bizarre ordeal which basically involved being ushered through numerous rooms of low-level lighting, before being shown a glass coffin which revealed a surprisingly short corpse which had quite frankly seen better days. We continued our personal vigil to Lenin and his beliefs by tucking into a McDonalds just outside Red Square, the golden arches tastefully located almost directly opposite the tomb of the unknown soldier.