Thursday, 11 September 2014

Day 75 Thursday September 11th. Moscow

At last the day dawned when we can get off the train, so after a small breakfast of fried eggs supplemented by free pizza (we think left over from last night) we duly packed away our belongings and all stood in the corridor just willing the train to go faster.

Employees of the train company have a large proportion of their salary determined by the punctuality of the trains and therefore the train duly slowed and waited so that it could then pull into the station at exactly 11:03.

The carriage containing the bikes was right next to the engine which was positioned right next to the end buffer of the line, so seeing as nothing was going to happen quickly regarding unloading the bikes we decided to leave them and get a taxi straight to the hostel, so we could wash and relax then tomorrow collect the bikes and arrange for the new tyres.

We chose a large looking taxi in the station car park area and showed him the address for the hostel we had taken from the website. He couldn't find the address on his sat-nav so in the end phoned the hostel and thought he knew where it was. He said the price would be 1000 rubles. We went 20 yds and arrived at the car park barrier and he wanted 100 rubles to pay for car parking. We immediately started to think we had made a bad choice, but we were hot sweaty and in the car so we pressed on. He proceeded to drive along and at the same time gamble on his iPad!!
After about 1 mile he had second thoughts about where the place was so asked us to phone the hostel. We said he had the phone number he can phone, he shrugged indicating he had no credit on his phone. At this point Dave turned to him and said either take us or let us out but were not paying any more!
He went straight to the street, but finding the hostel was a little complicated. The check-in time was not before 1 pm and it was just midday. We phoned the number of the hostel and they told us to wait in the street and the admin person would be along in about 10 mins. We paid off the taxi driver sending him away with all our best wishes and waited. Geoff found the door of the hostel which looked like it housed Fort Knox.

Sure enough after a short time a man called Stas came along and let us in. He knew about the booking and was very helpful given we had arrived earlier than the start of his shift.
The hostel only has a couple of rooms and we are in a six bed dorm by ourselves.

We decided to leave straight away and find Red Square because Paul, Dave and Frank wanted to leave tomorrow but also wanted to see Red Square before they left.
We walked in the general direction we had been told but got it slightly wrong and ended up at the banks of the River Moskva and then came around in a wide loop into Red Square. The walk had taken 40 mins but if we had walked directly it would only have been 10 mins.
Red Square is very impressive, the Kremlin, Lenin's tomb, and St Basil's Cathedral.

We had a shake-out of our finances and realised we would need more rubles. We all tried a couple of ATMs with a variety of cards and failed totally to get any money out. Now quite depressed about our potential shortage of money we changed our remaining US Dollars into rubles (noting the bank wouldn't exchange GBP for rubles!). In the bank the teller told us it is just some ATMs that won't give money on foreign cards, and we should try machines linked to the Bank of Moscow. Just down the street we came to the Bank of Moscow and we all managed to get money from the ATM.

We stopped and had a beer and some light snacks in a posh cafe (which cost £50) and then went back to the hostel.

Geoff and Dave decided to take a taxi to the train station and try and get the jerry cans off the bikes and source some petrol ready for tomorrow. When we arrived at the baggage depot the attendants seemed miffed with us that it was now 4pm and the train had arrived at 11am and they wanted the bikes out of there work area as soon as possible. We explained to them that we would have to go and get petrol, and that there were only two people and there were four motorbikes and we would come back tomorrow. They insisted we take two bikes now and then two more in the morning.
Dave and Geoff said ok they would go and get petrol and return for two of the bikes. As soon as Dave and Geoff were away from the depot they decided that with not having a sat-nav with them they would find it difficult to return to the hostel, and so they would return tomorrow and pick up all the bikes.
We are expecting a big row in the morning, but what can they do throw the bikes away!!!

We have located the tyre depot where Denis Panferov has sent our tyres and this is on the western side of Moscow centre ( we are on the eastern side)!!

So tomorrow after getting the bikes (hopefully) we will ride out there and put on the new tyres. Dave, Frank and Paul then plan to head off west towards home while Geoff will return to the hostel and wait for Savi to arrive on Monday.

More tomorrow

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