samedi 13 novembre 2010

Last days in Moscow

Brief overview of our three last days in Moscow:

Friday: Alexei and his friend Dima were kind enough to show us the city with a mean of transport we would never have thought of using in Moscow: a bike! So here we are on the roads of Moscow, riding a bike which is far too small for Yann and has only a front break which barely works for me. We discover on the way yet another way of making fraud. Train station this time. As you would get controlled when you exit the station for the local trains, the trick is to get off the line, jump down from your platform (yes, you are on the rails at this stage), cross the few railways that separate you from the station, jump to the platform and exit the station by another door. We have done it with daylight and it is already a bit dangerous, but we also seen people during this during night time in a curve. The funny part is that once again, no one seems to care (controllers/police) about people not paying for their tickets.

Beside the visit of the city (and the closed office of where we were supposed to register our visa… but that is another story), the real discovery of this day was the discovery of a different way of riding bikes: fixed gear biking. I guess most of you have seen these keirin races on TV with these strange bikes with only one gear and no break (you have to go backward to break).

Well these guys decided one day their brakes were useless and started turning their bikes into fixed gear bikes and since then only ride such kind of bikes in Moscow. Alexei and Dima (thanks again for taking us on this great tour guys! We have not seen a single bike in the whole day except for ours as riding in Moscow is to the least dangerous as cars do not consider you as being part of the traffic) are huge fans and even participate to special races (which was the case on Friday). (Learn more on – yes it is in Russian, but I am sure Wikipedia knows for the general concept) We went to the starting point and the finishing point of the race and ended up discussing with the first guy who brought this into Moscow. Very interesting evening were we got to meet a few more nice people, including our guide for the next day: Yura!

Saturday: We agreed to meet Yura around 1pm for an express visit of places we did not know in Moscow. We have randomly seen an old TV tower in Moscow, a couple of great churches (I am amazed by the decoration and style of the orthodox churches), Moscow city (which is the new business center of Moscow –absolutely no interest from my point of view), and we ended up in the evening at the State University of Moscow, which is not only a HUGE piece of building but a beautiful one. From there we had an incredible view of the city by night.

We then headed to our meeting with our first entrepreneur (summary of the interview to be published soon as it is currently being validated. All we can say right now that it was a very pleasant meeting !). After that (remember we still have no phone) we struggled to find Yura. Some friends of him that we met 2 hours earlier walked 45 minutes in the cold night to take us to Yura's apartment. We were immediately offered to stay there for the night and have a few beers. We were both very pleased and very surprised that during the last 3 days, so many people that we did not know at all spent hours and hours showing us their cities, taking care of us and inviting us. We would have plenty of examples, but overall we would like to thank all these people who have been so kind to prove us all the extent of the Russian hospitality. Guys you are all welcome home when (if?) we go back to France! On this night I also discovered another sport: slackline! Yura is a huge fan as you can see on this video It comes from France, but I had to find about it in Russia…

Sunday: Nothing extraordinary except we woke up very early to see a military parade for which we had no invitation and visited the National Art Gallery. We did see a lot of Russian people making a demonstration in the main street of Moscow.

That's all folks! Tomorrow evening we take the Transsiberian train for the next 4 days. Next post on next Saturday to the best then!


PS: This post was prepared before we actually left Moscow but the internet connexion of Alexei's neighbor decided we could not post on that day ;-)

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