Aug 8, 2012


To get to Kotelnichesky Lane from Moscow’s Taganskaya Metro station you have to go through an outdoor market. From streetside stands babushkas, with their head wrapped in kerchiefs, peddle fresh and pickled vegetables, homemade cheeses, flowers and kielbasa.

To one end of these rows of stalls is building number 11. This unassuming, pre-revolutionary structure is painted beige and exhibits nothing suspect, except for a windowless ground floor. The interior is a different story, for the building is little more than a façade and houses a massive dome used to shield the entrance of an underground military complex from a nuclear strike on Moscow.

Continue reading “Red Ink Run: playing with nuclear bombs in Bunker 42”

On the road again

Aug 2, 2012


I considered it a glaring omission from an otherwise comprehensive travel CV that I had never been couch surfing. I’m usually the last one to climb aboard with these sorts of things, happy to leave it to the social media vanguard to try and test it. Let them root out all the serial killers and emotional vampires that prey on the lonely traveller while I stay in hostels.

Yet by the time we had traversed half of Siberia and reached the Russian city of Tomsk a few things became apparent: firstly, that an undeveloped hostel system in Russia meant local contact and interaction, the backpacker’s Holy Grail was illusive as ever. Secondly, our next destination, Perm, did not have any hostels, only hotels that were either highly expensive or in the city’s boon docks.

Continue reading “Red Ink Run: an uncomfortable adventure in couch surfing”