Yesterday I sat and ate my breakfast watching Donald Duck and Chip and Dale, whilst the business contingent of the Intercontinental Moscow missed out on their CNBC fix, and if I may say so, looked all the better for it!
I have been spoilt rotten over the past three days by the hotel. I have been entertained constantly, lavished with presents including a rubber duck, 2 boxes of macrons, a cake and a nest of Russian dolls. I’ve had the run of the Club Lounge, have had food not on the menu cooked to order and even played with some Russian dolls that turned out to be quite valuable as they had all been decorated and signed by Russian celebrities!
Our room on the 11th floor was fantastic. My cot was a laundry caddy and was therefore spacious and comfy and even better it was on wheels, so I could be rocked to sleep. As you know from an earlier post (watching TV in the bath) I was able to catch up on the day’s cartoons whilst soaking in the tub. And our view was pretty amazing too. I would eat my supper sitting on the window seat watching the cars below.
Asides from being really well looked after the hotel also has the coolest stairs I’ve ever seen, which in my book makes it well worth a stay.
Today I saw my body weight in diamonds. I can’t imagine how much they were worth. It wasn’t surprising, therefore, that there were lots of scary looking besuited guards and a door that was about as thick as I am long! They were in the Moscow State Armoury along with a load of Faberge eggs (I was disappointed they weren’t the chocolate kind. Who wants a model of an egg for Easter? I mean really), some amazing ornate carriages, suits of armour and loads of clothes. Empress Catherine’s dresses were seriously thin, but I think Empress Anne must have been a bit of a fatty as her dresses were significantly wider at the the waist. I bet she preferred chocolate Easter eggs too!
We also queued in line to see a dead man. Confusingly he looked alive. He was called Lenin and was very important having implemented communism in Russia. He didn’t want to be immortalised but he was embalmed anyway against his wishes. Each year his friend, Ho Chi Minh, from Vietnam comes to stay. He didn’t want to be immortalised either. Lenin used to live in Tavistock Place and Percy Circus in London, both a hop, skip and a jump from my house. He also drank at the Queens Head on Acton Street, which is where I had my christening party. Clearly a man of good taste.
We met some lovely Chinese people in the queue. They loved me and took loads of photos of me and gave me strange stuff to eat and lots of tissues – I’m not sure why- but it was fun nonetheless. I also made some Russian friends in a shop. They wanted to hold me, squished my cheeks and clapped my feet together. Also a strange experience, but I let them get on with it as it seemed to make them happy!
We ate lunch at a beautiful restaurant called Cafe Pushkin, an old Russian tea house. There they gave me an amazing high chair which made me feel really important so I was in my best behaviour and didn’t make a peep all lunch.
Afterwards we went into The Kremlin. It was beautiful and incredibly serene. Lots of cathedrals and park land. There was also an enormous bell and a huge canon.
The canon (belonging to the Tsar) was almost a metre across the bore and the canon balls weigh over a tonne. The bell (also belonging to the Tsar) is the largest in the world weighing 202 tonnes. I’ve come to realise the Russians don’t do things by half! I like to think I saw President Putin looking out of a window, but I suspect I didn’t!
So far so good! Moscow is more baby-friendly than I thought it might be.
Firstly everything here is giant. I feel like a flee. The buildings are huge and the roads enormous. There are very few crossings instead there are subways. And ingeniously each has buggy/wheelchair tracks built in. Perfect for me and a tip top workout for the Big M. So getting around both on foot and on the metro is possible.
Also everyone seems to like babies. They all smile and wave at me, although I’ve see very few other children or pushchairs. Although I suppose we are in tourist central and it’s not the school holidays any more.
Today we concentrated on getting our bearings (although this wasn’t the original plan!). We headed down to Red Square, about a 15 minute walk from our hotel. Once in the square, however, we were ushered out again and the gates were locked. There were lots of people wearing military uniforms and tv crews scattered around so we assumed something newsworthy must be happening? Not realising the whole of the square was shut we walked the length and breadth of the kremlin but realised it was firmly shut. We headed off for lunch near the Bolshoi theatre instead and found a restaurant of the same name.
We sat outside and the waiters brought me a blanket so I didn’t get cold. The food looked delicious but as it was seafood I wasn’t allowed it. Instead I had philadelphia on crackers and some carrot sticks. We then headed back to Red Square, discovered it had reopened so wandered around the shopping centre, Gum, which is also vast and incredibly ornate. It was hard to get upstairs as there are no lifts but there were escalators. We then decided to go round st Basil’s (which is bonkers to look at – apparently Ivan the Terrible had the architect’s eyes removed so that he could not design anything else as beautiful again) but there are too many steps for the pushchair so we decided to leave it until tomorrow.
We discovered that you can check the buggy into the kremlin’s cloakroom so that’s what we’ll do as you can’t take it in to Lenin’s mausoleum either.
See you all tomorrow!
So the sofitel was good. Intercontinental in Moscow better…. (More tomorrow as time for bed)
Last night I stayed in my first proper hotel. And I have to admit I could easily become accustomed to it!
I am currently writing this at 34,000 feet on an Easyjet flight to Moscow, which left Gatwick at the crack of a sparrow’s fart. Consequently, we decided to stay the night at the Sofitel.
It was fab from start to finish. We arrived just before bed time and check in was fast and efficient. We went straight to our room which was enormous and had four beds in it! Enough for all my cuddly toys to have one each, the big M&D to have one and also a cot for me.
I had a bath and got changed into my baby grow, followed by my bottle. I then settled into my buggy as we went downstairs so the Big M&D could have some supper. They both had king prawn Caesar salads. I was asleep in minutes.
I barely woke up an hour or so later when I was transferred into the cot. Although if I was the fussy type I would say the cot’s mattress was a trifle hard, so the Big D bolstered it with some of the thousands of pillows we had in our room.
4.30am came all too quickly and it was time to get up. We were in the bag drop queue by 5am. That’s how close the hotel is to the north terminal. We cleared security by 5.30am with no problems and then I had my breakfast – mmmm banana porridge, my favourite!
We speedy boarded onto the plane and took off on time. I’m just hoping that my buggy made it on as the lady made us leave it at the gate. Moscow could be a little awkward without it!
Back again later with my first impressions of Russia. Otherwise time for a quick nap.