|Moscow -2006 - as seen by Rebecca...
Was roused at some ungodly hour to go and meet the
Blackheath and Bromley Harriers team at Bromley South Station. We caused
a fair amount of chaos with our oversized luggage crammed to near
bursting with all our new kit but managed to make it to London without
crushing too many fragile business women with Prada hand bags and lap
Had a slight hiccup at Victoria when it conspired
that Sarah McLellan had got on the wrong train and was on the way to
East Korea via Aberdeen. However we eventually arrived at Heathrow,
although not before I realised that the zip of my case had broken and
that I was leaving a very distinctive trail of food, clothing and
electrical components across Heathrow Terminal 4!
The flight took about three hours and was made all
the more amusing by a gay air host(ess?), my overly efficient bladder,
that meant that Vicky had to contort herself into a complex Yoga
position every 5 minutes so that I could dash past to go to the loo, and
a mad film that involved a man in a habit banging his head against a
wall with his mad Spanish friend.
Eventually arrived at the hotel after catching a
bus from the airport. Hotel rooms were not all that special, as were the
showers- which weren’t actually attached to the wall and so meant that
in the process of washing, you would also wash the ceiling, your towel
and all four walls in the adjoining wall.
Started the day with breakfast in the hotel. Whole
team attempted to steal provisions for the day but were stopped by a
fierce Svetlana with a pinny and breakfast tray who yelled threats (in
Russian) of what I took to be life imprisonment or similar.
Then went out on a sight-seeing tour of Russia
with incessant commentary provided by the very lovely Olga. We saw the
sights of Moscow, including the few remaining Baroque churches and the
city university. However, Olga seemed hellbent on ignoring all buildings
of architectural significance and instead spent the best part of what
seemed like half my life trying to persuade the team to buy a partially
The coach stopped at several viewpoints to enable
us potter out, take photos and freeze. The views across Moscow are
pretty exceptional and I must have spent a good 5 minutes umm-ing and
ahh-ing at the lakes, buildings and women wearing nice rodent fur hats
We then went up and down the river on a ferry
which was nice and relaxing bar Olga’s continual interruptions with
informative heavily-accented snippets bellowed across the boat at
between 7500 and 7550 decibels. The buildings across the river are
varied and almost invariably beautiful. I think that it would be fair to
say that Russia is best seen from the river as some of the views were
After, we got back on the boat and returned to the
hotel. Olga grabbed the opportunity to put the whole team in a stupor
with the tragic tale of Ivan and his 7 unfortunate wives-of which we
were told about each one in great detail.
Day dawned at last-was very funny at breakfast
watching everyone eying up the competition. Vicky, especially, went a
fashionable shade of green after seeing several heavily muscled throwers
of indeterminable sex eating about 70 boiled eggs a-piece.
Whole team went to the track except me and
Ella-who then spent the next hour running around the hotel taking a wide
berth of the pervy men with cameras looking for someone with a black
tracksuit. Eventually sussed out the shuttle system and arrived more
than a little flustered at the track.
(have not written a race report-have assumed that
I stood in for the steeple chase, an event I had
never before thought about, let alone done as Catherine Chambers had
sustained a knee injury. Standing on the top of the water jump for the
first time, I got an acute attack of vertigo and could not face the
thought of plummeting down 60 feet into a plunge pool but eventually
We came third by a point and so were in a very
happy and celebratory mood on returning to the hotel. Basically the
whole team assembled in the hotel bar and through actually talking to
one another rather than just staring (a la Russians), caused so much
noise that the bar tenders called the police/ mafia (I am still
undecided) who pranced about for a bit waving foot long guns at everyone
with an English passport.
Went on another sight seeing tour with Olga and
visited a variety of garish churches and parks with nice pansies. Whiled
away a very pleasant morning walking from church to church, comparing
frescos and such like. Was kept amused by the advanced security system
in operation around the churches, presumably put in place to prevent
evil impostors from stealing roubles out of the collection tins.
Then walked on to the Red Square, which was very
beautiful and has a variety of different buildings in various different
styles. In particular I liked the crazy cathedral which had been
decorated very cheerily, located just outside the square.
Team then returned to the hotel and prepared to go
home-back to East enders, bread and mum!
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this
trip. Speaking on behalf of the team, we had a fantastic time and are
very very grateful to you for giving us this unforgettable opportunity.