We had a lovely week in Moscow, although it took a few days to fully recover from the journey from Beijing. We were lucky enough to have gracious hosts who lent us an apartment, showed us around, and generally made our time very special. Thanks guys!

We did the touristy stuff – Red square, Kremlin, GUM, St Basil’s cathedral etc, but Moscow was suffering the effects of a Europe-wide heat wave, so we paced ourselves, and spent just as much time chilling in cafés, eating ice cream and hanging out with our friends. Moscow is certainly more colourful, friendly and Western than 20 years ago when I first visited – if you can ignore the fact its effectively a police state, where journalists are routinely harassed and people who disagree with the state are forced to leave, you can pretend you are in any cosmopolitan European city.

One day we went to the Cosmonaut museum, all about the Russian space programme, including a full size replica of the main module of the International Space Station, which was cool, and the first two dogs (stuffed) who survived a trip to space….(Belka and Strelka)  which was a bit grim. At least they didn’t stuff Yuri Gagarin…..

Another day we went to Afisha Picnic, a music festival with a weird vibe, possibly due to being alcohol free. It was very odd, with many people dressed to the nines (expensive dresses, high heels, designer jeans they didn’t want to get grass stains on…) and lots of stalls promoting products…. The music seemed somewhat irrelevant to the high rollers of Moscow who were more interested in showing off their designer gear and posing on beanbags. There was a fun kids area though, and we were happy to see Belle & Sebastian play a brilliant set. Dancing down the front with Lauren on my back was possibly not the most sensible idea though…. And I can’t even blame alcohol….


Soon it was time to cross our 23rd time zone, this time to Brussels, which would be our last stop before ending our round the world trip in Lisbon, from where we set off almost exactly a year ago.