We had a morning free in Moscow before our train left for St. Petersburg at 4.30pm, so decided to try our skills on the Moscow Metro and travel to Gorky Park (an amusement park which is mentioned in Martin Cruz Smith’s great thriller novel “Gorky Park”). We got instructions from the hotel concierge for directions to the nearest Metro station about 10 minutes’ walk, and then descended down the longest escalator ever to the trains. The lines were colour-coded, but should we board a left-bound or right-bound train? Our knowledge of Russian Cyrillic is non-existent, but a local woman kindly pointed out the right train for us. About 20 minutes and five stations on, we alighted and on reaching ground level, found that Gorky Park was about another 20 minute walk. It is quite a large park with gardens, shady trees and lots of amusements for both children and adults. Instead of pony rides, there were reindeer rides! Being early in the week, it wasn’t crowded and we enjoyed walking around and then sitting and ‘people-watching’ before an uneventful return journey to our hotel.
Our way to St. Petersburg was by a very fast train taking only 4¼ hours to travel 712 kilometres. We reached speeds of over 200kms per hour. Our hotel here is the Ibis and considerably down-market in comparison to Moscow’s Renaissance 5 star that the Zarengold agents had booked us in for our last night of Trans-Siberian tour. Still, the small room and basic facilities has one advantage – free wireless internet connection! We’ve made the most of using it for email and Skype-ing family.