Life After Little Else......or Rambles with Reg!

Liz Ju and Jack burn rubber, in campervan Reg, to tour coasts and inland areas, armed with maps, Cobb barbecue and anti-midge cream.

23 June 2019
17 June 2019
15 June 2019
13 June 2019
12 June 2019
11 June 2019
08 June 2019
08 June 2019
07 June 2019
07 June 2019
03 June 2019 | Amsterdam
10 April 2019
30 March 2019
25 October 2018

Kazan to Moscow

17 June 2019
Liz MacInally
Saturday 15 June

No rush to get up this morning, particularly, as the train would not reach our next stop, Kazan, until 11.30 am. So we began to plan packing, as the train would arrive in Moscow at 7.15am tomorrow, Sunday, and after a long day in Kazan we wouldn't want to have to pack before going to bed! We were just so happy to have baggage to pack, after the fright of losing it for the first week. The net result of that was lots of clothes not worn at all, and the few that we had in our backpacks or on our backs worn to death. Our fellow passengers had commented favourably when we had finally got hold of our cases again and managed to appear in something different!

Our guide for Kazan was a local woman, who took us straight to the old part of the city, apologising on the way for the disruption to travel caused by every road crew in th region doing road repairs in the city prior to some big upcoming event. We left the bus, in bright pleasant sunshine, which carried on all day, and walked past first a Jewish school where pupils were in the playground rehearsing moves for a musical. Then she told us about how muslims in the city at first did not have a mosque, and had to be a bit inventive, so they got a small house with a four- sided roof and cut the top slice off it, raised it up with a table underneath so the muezzin could stand up high and call the faithful to prayer. When mosques were subsequently built in Kazan for the large Muslim population, the design echoed that early experience, in that the minaret rises from the middle of the building, rather than at the side as in other countries. As we walked by the muezzin's call took us both back to memories of sailing holidays in Turkey.

She then took us to see a neighbouring orthodox church, and pointed out the catholic church. Kazan is a city where all faiths and none cohabit in harmony.

Back in the bus we headed for a sort of mini disneyland complex, or tourist trap, where in a large marquee a local folk group played sang and danced for us, and taught us some words of the local Tatar language. Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan, one of Russia's many component parts, or 'local districts', first won by Ivan the Terrible only at the third attempt!
After the music we had a nerve-wracking game of musical chairs where if the music stopped you had to say a Tatar word. I managed to repeat 'thankyou' when it was my turn, but don't ask me to tell you what that was, I've forgotten it now!

We had been aware of the sounds of small aircraft all morning, and our guide explained that it was due to the Red Bull Air Races which were being held in the city that very day. Wow, said I and all the other nerds on the bus, as we headed for our lunch stop on a converted boat in the lake, a journey which took us past the harbour, in which pairs of large red and white bollards were the course the small fast planes had to dive through, waggling their wings and roaring their engines, while chucking out loads of smoke. I couldn't imagine anything more fun to watch, and we tried to sneak glimpses as the bus drove along, taking blurry photos which didn't come out.

Lunch on the converted boat restaurant consisted of the obligatory salad starter, chicken noodle soup, then little triangular pastries containing potatoes and vegetables and meat. A cornish pasty, really. The chef appeared and demonstrated how to make your own noodles, then how to maake your own triangular pasties. Volunteers wre asked for and Louise and Stephen, two of our group, volunteered and made a reasonable job of copying the chef.

Then we were off to the kremlin. This threw us a bit, as we associate that only with Moscow. We were told that it means fortress in Russian, so that expalins it. The fortress in Kazan was impressive, strong walls and important buildings inside, relating to the time of Ivan the Terrible and before. But from its ramparts there was a great view of the air race, so we took some time out for that. Our guide explained that as it was the weekend people would usually get out of the city for their leisure time, but this was different, there were crowds everywhere, enjoying the show, enjoying the sunshine, having a good time. Lots of young people, young families with babies and toddlers, a real good day out. The atmosphere in this city is very positive, and it is no surprise at the end of our trip when we were asked which was your favourite city that we visitd, we all replied Kazan.

Back to the train for our last dinner on board.

Sunday 16th June

Up early for breakfast at six, left the train at 7.15, and piled into our bus with Irina, our Moscow guide. We left our big bags on the train, assured that they would be taken to our hotel and placed in our rooms, no problem. We could be forgiven for being doubtful, but hey ho, no choice. We took our backpacks and other stuff with us as we had our tour bus to park them on for the day. A fond farewell to Yelizaveta, our great cabin attndant, who had kept us going with tea and coffee and laundry and tlc for two weeks.

Our guide told us we would start with a drive around the city, of a mere 12 and a half million people, and off we went, roaring around the kind of empty streets you would find in sny city st 7.30 in the morning on a Sunday!

First stop was for a washroom. This was Irinaspeak for the loo. Then another stop for a walk in the park to a strange little string of sculptures of ducks, gifted by Barbara Bush to the children of Russia, around the time that the soviet era ended.

Back in the bus, off to Moscow University and a panoramic viewpoint. At this point we realised that we were not alone. Hundreds of Chinese tourists had also got up early and were milling around the same area. We dutifully took photos of the enormous Stalin-era building, but the highlight of that stop was spotting our first foreign vehicle, an Italian round the world landrover campervan number. How did he get a visa for that, Ju wanted to know. You have to have an invitation from someone in Russia before a visa can be issued. Who knows?

Our next item was a tour of the underground, so we left the bus and did a long tour, stopping at many stations to admire the art. Irina explained that the best architects were invited to design each station, and they are all different. I noticed a big difference since I was here in 2006. All the signage is now in English as well as Russian, so it is easier for tourists to navigate. This was a spinoff effect of the World Cup last year.

Out of the metro and into a Ukrainian restaurant for lunch.

In the afternoon we went to the Kremlin, and that involved the usual metal detector security routine now just about everywhere, so there was a queue with very loud Chinese people jostling us as though we weren't there. I got quite annoyed and jostled back. Not good.

The kremlin is full of churches and cathedrals, tombs of czars and the odd building like the headquarters of the communist party, the home of the president, although he actually lives in the country and helicopters in to work. We saw his helipad.

Then on to Red Square, and we finally made it to the hotel, where we had been upgraded to a bigger room. Lovely.

Strange dinner at a restaurant and the end of the tour marked by a big hug to Vera, the tour organiser, for all she had done for us, our upgrade, the rescue of our luggage, and for making the whole experience so pleasurable and hassle-free.

The image is the fantastic sculpture beside the Moscow river in honour of Peter the Great.
Vessel Name: Reg
Vessel Make/Model: Toyota Hiace Regius
Hailing Port: Ardfern, Argyll, UK
Crew: Liz MacInally, Ju Randall, Bagshaw, Jack
About: Liz and Ju are co-driver/navigators, and Bagshaw is our mascot. Jack is our miniature schnauzer.
We sailed the west coast, round the islands and over the Minch to the Outer Hebrides, weather permitting. From 2008 to 2010 we rented out the house, moved aboard, and sailed south to the Algarve. IN 2011 we sailed the west coast and north as far as Orkney. In 2012 we sailed local waters. In [...]
Reg's Photos - Little Else's Blog (Main)
Our journey from Vladivostok to Moscow in June 209
No Photos
Created 20 June 2019
Our journey from Vladivostok to Moscow in June 209
1 Photo
Created 18 June 2019
No Photos
Created 14 October 2018
5 Photos
Created 13 October 2018
A return trip in a very different summer
17 Photos
Created 10 July 2018
Trip to Peru late November early December 2017
70 Photos
Created 22 November 2017
Our photo record of the journey.
67 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 1 May 2017
Photos from Argentina, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South Orkneys, South Shetlands and Antarctica, 30 November to 18 December 2015
28 Photos
Created 30 December 2015
Northumberland journey
7 Photos
Created 1 August 2015
Reg tours a large island near Scotland
8 Photos
Created 30 May 2015
Photos from France, Sardinia and Turkey
38 Photos
Created 27 October 2012
Margaret and Derek invited us to join them and their family, and Axle and Taryn.
15 Photos
Created 5 June 2012
4 Photos
Created 22 February 2012
27 Photos
Created 5 December 2011
124 Photos
Created 17 November 2011
54 Photos
Created 12 July 2011
46 Photos
Created 2 July 2011
Some photos on our journey
60 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
A record of the opening and inflation of our liferaft as part of her three-year service
28 Photos
Created 7 March 2011
Ju's photos from the trip
98 Photos
Created 30 July 2010
18 Photos
Created 2 July 2010
Photos from Lagos and the journey to Ardfern, April - May 2010
52 Photos
Created 14 May 2010
Some highlights from the year
49 Photos
Created 4 January 2010
5 Photos
Created 29 October 2009
Gibraltar, Morocco, Melilla, Ibiza, Formentera, Denia, Mar Menor, Gibraltar
21 Photos
Created 26 September 2009
A record in pictures of sailing with Grand Slam in the Ionian, July-August 2009
58 Photos
Created 17 August 2009
9 Photos
Created 24 June 2009
8 Photos
Created 7 June 2009
31 Photos
Created 1 April 2009
A bird reationserve and ringing centre in a beautiful loc
17 Photos
Created 15 March 2009
13 Photos
Created 23 February 2009
13 Photos
Created 10 February 2009
A retrospective of the whole year, compiled by Ju, in the correct timeline order
77 Photos
Created 23 January 2009
60 Photos
Created 15 December 2008
A record of a day at a bird-ringing centre
17 Photos
Created 29 November 2008
Visit in November 2008
36 Photos
Created 16 November 2008
A compendium of the family back home
22 Photos
Created 27 October 2008
Shots taken since our arrival in Lagos.
13 Photos
Created 19 October 2008
76 Photos
Created 17 May 2008
A record of the work done aboard to prepare for extended cruising
16 Photos
Created 8 November 2007
11 Photos
Created 7 August 2007
A collection of photos from past cruises on the west coast of Scotland.
4 Photos
Created 20 May 2007