We arrived to Moscow yesterday and were scooped up and taken to our hotel ‘complex’. thank goodness we got a tour is all i can say! getting out of berlin was easy – well getting to the airport was at least. there were 3 train workers who saw us get on the train and when it was the final stop they took our bags from us and walked us to the lift, then across the street and even put our bags on the waiting bus!! that is hospitality. it was super nice of them and not expected at all.
glad that it went smoothly to that point, so that we weren’t stressed too terribly much when we finally got to the check in counter after 30+ minutes. i was told right away that there was a problem with my visa. the sweating began and granny just about had a heart attack when i jokingly said she might have to go without me! we were taken out of the line and directed to someone else. still not knowing what the problem was except that perhaps my dates weren’t correct and i didn’t have a return flight? but what problem is this of the checkin staff of a german airline?!?
after a few anxious minutes waiting (well 20 to be exact) we were given the go ahead. apparently they had never seen a visa for russia that was issued in India, so they were not sure if it was real or not. After some calls and probably a check on their computer they found it was real and we were then checked in. shoo… glad that went ok. thought i might have to stay a while longer in berlin (which i wouldn’t have minded actually!)
boarded and landed fine. immigration was also fine. no issues there. couldn’t find our ride immediately and i started to panic.. but then granny found him. yeah! we checked in, ate some outrageously expensive food at the ‘tour group buffet’ and had our group meeting.
i love our actual guide, Dasha, but the initial lady who was speaking to us was super annoying and met all of those stereotypes that we think of. But she was also funny at times. obsessed with vodka – which is pretty funny considering that about half of our group doesn’t drink!! haha. and she told us to put our passports in our panties, no matter if it came out smelly or not. uhhh… anyhow.
the group is cool. there are 3 people from South Africa, a few ozzies, kiwi, 1 irish lady and us. good age group and everyone seems super cool. only noticed today that there are only 2 guys – one of which is indian origin!
had a super super long day today at the red square which has absolutely pooped us out. visited lenin’s dead embalmed body which was strange, but kind of cool. saw the color st basil’s church with the onion domes and did way too much walking. granny was a trooper. i will write about it later. my internet time is up now and i need to get some dinner before crashing. another busy day tomorrow.