Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th July 2019
“Fill your life with adventure and experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show”
So today we were heading into Moscow’s City Centre for one last time…four was almost about to become two as Michelle and Nathan were leaving today heading back to Worthing in the UK.
Their flight wasn’t until the afternoon so we headed out for our last meal together.
We have really bonded with these guys over the past two weeks, so it will be sad once again saying goodbyes.
As we sit at lunch were already planning our 2020 big adventure…where on earth will we go…who and what could cope with us!
We say our sad goodbyes and Andy and I are the last two standing…where will we head.
We visit Red Square for one last time…I love it here…many more pictures are taken.
We head to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which contains the remains of one soldier who died in December 1941. This is a kind of national pilgrimage spot.
The inscription reads: ‘Your name is unknown, your deeds immortal.’.
Every hour on the hour, the guards perform a perfectly synchronised ceremony to change the guards on duty.
It’s pretty amazing to watch!
We checked out The State Duma, which is a government building. The lower house is the Federal Assembly of Russia, while the upper house is the Council of the Federation. These headquarters are situated right in central Moscow.
From here we have coffee in Arbat Street then head to see the famous Ballet House, The Bolshoi.
The views were amazing and we even got to see Luzhniki Stadium this is the national stadium of Russia.
One of the Seven Sisters sits up here also. These are a group of seven skyscrapers in Moscow designed in the Stalinist style. They were built in 1947 to 1953 in an elaborate combination of styles.
Sparrow Hill was a vibrant spot, with music blaring, bikers and just people generally hanging around enjoying the evening.
“A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”, this excerpt from a quote by Winston Churchill about Russia could possibly sum up this fascinating nation.
Russia I have discovered, is like a Matryoschka doll there is always another doll inside.
It has been a mystery indeed. It is perhaps this quality of being mysterious that intrigues people from all over the world to visit the largest country in the world. Personally it has always allured me.
I totally understand the people who won’t visit Russia because they don’t agree with Putin and his politics – but, just like almost every other country in the world, the government in Russia does not always reflect the sentiment of the people who live there.
I was fascinated with Red Square, Moscow’s most famous address Crowned by the legendary domes of St. Basils Cathedral epitomising the mystique and beauty of the Russian capital, buildings and monuments that reflect every aspect of Moscow’s long and turbulent history.
I was thrilled by its artistry, history and majesty.
Then from the Capital to the Caucasus a once in a lifetime experience.
The Caucasus Mountains overpowered me with beauty, wild nature, snowy peaks, hospitable people and delicious cuisine of different republics.
The diversity of cultures, customs and traditions, mountain villages, highest peaks, waterfalls, mineral water springs and unpolluted nature was everything I imagined and so much more.
The people, “tough nuts to crack”, they say. But once you work on a Russian, the rewards are great if you manage to break through the façade. Maybe in our case with the Russians we encountered, a round of vodka sped up this process, who knows.
In the case of Maks our trusted guide and friend he opened up a whole new world to us. He was a special person, someone to be admired and someone I hope to meet up with again in life.
Anna our cook, Azimat assistant guide and so much more will always amaze me at their energy, simplicity and humbleness.
Due to the northern location of Mt Elbrus the amount of oxygen in the air at high altitude is even less than the same altitudes more south.
It is considered one of the world’s most deadly peaks with a high ration of climber deaths to climbers! I can tell you now as I’m off the mountain but estimated death rate is as high as 25 people a year which occur mostly due to bad weather/altitude sickness issues!
Climbing Mount Elbrus has been a rewarding experience and with that experience has came many surprises.
I am a firm believer of filling your life with experiences, not things, having stories to tell, not stuff to show and this trip has certainly given me that for sure!
I read a verse somewhere and for me it sums up Elbrus in all her beauty, her mightyness and her position within this country that she inhibits:-
‘She is free in her wilderness, she is a wanderess, a drop of fresh water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. ‘Time’ for her isn’t something to fight against. Her love flows clean, with passion, like fresh water”, Roma Payne.
Russia at times has been an unpredictable space. This experience has been a challenge to conquer. An opportunity to take. A memory in the making. A story to tell.
It has moved me, tantalised my senses, soothed my spirit and boggled my mind.
“They say one day you will leave this world behind, so live a life you will remember”, Avicci.
To travel here and experience it is to live, it is about seizing the day and making the most out of every situation.
This story really was from Russia with love!