Our journey, Moscow to Vladivostok, September 2015. 

We travelled via the Trans-Siberian Railway train, stopping along the way.

Every journey of discovery has to start somewhere.

Ours began at Moscow’s Yaroslavsky Station at the Zero Km mark of the longest railway line in the world. Simon and John in front of the two-joined locomotives at the front of a very long line of carriages.

Vodka & Vegemite

This was the name created for our blog site we kept updated during the month-long trip through Russia. Some of you may remember these blogs. For Australian readers iconic “Vegemite” needs no explanation, but for others, this black, greasy substance is truly a mystery and symbolic of our country. The link of vodka to Russia needs little explanation.

We placed these on the table of our sleeping compartment as the train was exiting Moscow station. Just as we were taking the photo, the providnista carriage attendant appeared and admonished us. “Put away Vodka’, she shouted, ” you no drink.” Or, words to that effect.

The Trans-Siberian was once known as the “Vodka Express” where you got on board, drank heavily for nine days and nine nights, and then were poured off at the other end. Mr Putin decreed this would end. The iron fist came down, and drinking was banned in all but the dining carriage. Even the bars and the station kiosks were closed for alcohol sales when the train came through. Such is the power of the President, even then.

Thankfully for the journey, our rather large, but lovelly, carriage attendent did turn a blind eye. But don’t tell Vladimir.

Moscow Underground

The descent into Moscow’s underworld –  a labrynth of stations and tunnels beneath the city. The escalator going down into the bowells of the earth, deep enough to survive a nuclear attack. At the bottom, huge, thick sliding iron doors waiting to be activated that will seal off the occupants from the blast and radiation. One has to assume they still work and are regularly tested. The threat of first-strike capability ever-present on their mind, and makes up part of their psyche and view of the West.

Red Square(outside)           St Basils Cathedral

The Gum Department Store

Military Tattoo in Red Square celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War 2