We got back early this morning. I really like the 8-hour overnight trip to Moscow in the comfy sleeping car. There are a lot of messed-up things about Russia, but they sure do train travel right. Unfortunately, I found it really hard to sleep on the train this trip. Today it was OK, because we were able to go back to bed as soon as we got home, but our first day in Moscow was really unpleasant. I don’t remember the last time I was so overtired and cranky.

Still, Moscow was fun overall. We had a good mix of returns to places I enjoyed when I visited in 2002, and exploring new places. And, of course, since it’s Russia, there was a lot of looking for places listed in a guidebook that either were closed or no longer existed.

We did a lot of walking. I mean, a LOT of walking. I’m someone who rarely goes anywhere in a car. I do a lot of walking every day. So believe me when I say we did a lot of walking. My feet throbbed at the end of each day.

I’m beginning to worry about how much I talk about fast food on this blog, but I have to write about this: in Moscow some of the McDonald’s have a Mac Kafe attached to them — a fancy coffee sort of place, but McDonald’s-owned. Do other cities have these? A brief internet search revealed nothing. Of course curiosity got the better of us and we had to check it out. The coffee was standard European cafe, and there was nothing differentiating the Mac Kafe from any other fancy coffee place, not even in a crappy McDonald’s sort of a way. OK, I take that back, there was one difference — the seating area is shared with the McDonald’s next door, and so as you drink your overpriced coffee, you are surrounded by squealing children and the smell of their Happy Meals, but I can’t see this appealing to anyone, except maybe yuppie parents who want to appease their children yet sit in a place that feels a bit more upscale. Will that alone carry the Mac Kafe to success? Admittedly, the Mac Kafe does seem to be filling a niche in Moscow since it appears that the city has fewer fancy coffee chains per capita than St. Petersburg.