'Rule 1, on page 1 of the book of war, is: 'Do not march on Moscow' – Bernard Law Montgomery.
A long night
Touring the town
After the tour we went back to the hostel to get ready for that night. Chris, Isabell, Emma, Anika, Heli, Til and I were all going to see Swan Lake at a theatre next to the Bolshoi, which the rest of the guys decided miss.
Ah, the ballet
I'd never been to the ballet before, so I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about it, but for the most part it was really enjoyable. In musicals I tend not to mind the songs, but I can't stand the 'sing-talking', and it was similar with the ballet. The big dance sequences with a bit of a story were really cool, but I hated all the exaggerated 'dance-talking', with all that repetitive, pointless gesturing.
We were also all seriously struggling with sleep deprivation. I was fine if there was any story I could follow in the scene, or if there was a lot going on onstage, but whenever it was a solo or duo performance I'd start to flag. I found myself having to focus really hard on different things going on so I could keep myself awake, and the others said they did the same. My favourite strategy was trying to work out what nationalities the different prospective wives of the prince were supposed to be (I got them all but one, I think).
After that we met up with the rest of the group for dinner at an underground bar and restaurant named Kamchatka, then headed home for some much-needed sleep.
The kremlin and a french invasion
The next day after another feast at Grabli (to which Til was late AGAIN) it was time to head up to the Kremlin, the walled city within the city of Moscow housing the palace and a bunch of churches. It was an extra seven hundred roubles to go into the Armoury, which to us just sounded like a little additional part of a museum with, I dunno, some old cannons in it or something, so Til and I and a few others decided to leave it. We lined all lined up for ages to get in (the Russians are so security-conscious, to the point of paranoia, I think, methodically checking every bag as people entered). Inside it turned out we couldn't go up the belltower because it was closed, and you couldn't go into the palace, either. So we just saw a million Churches of the Holy This and the Sacred That (they were actually pretty cool, though; one even had the tomb of Ivan the Terrible). When we met up with the others they told us that the Armoury was incredible, so we were kicking ourselves for missing what now appeared to be the main attraction.
At one point we were walking along when Heli said, 'Imagine if we ran into the Frenchies here', and I swear to God, not thirty seconds later WE ACTUALLY SAW THE FRENCHIES (see my last post for an introduction to these Gallic villains).