June 8:  Moscow to Yartsevo

We weren't leaving Moscow till noon but bags had to be on the coach at 8:30.  Some people went into town for a few hours but I went back to sleep till 11.

On the way out of Moscow we stopped at Victory Park:

World War II monument.

Same monument.  Behind me were fountains and then an arch at the far end, but camera angles were bad.

Across from the park.  You wouldn't know from this photo that there was heavy traffic.  My Frogger skills allowed me to sense an opening.

Prior to this trip I would have thought the 1917 revolution was the most important event in Russian/Soviet history, but it was clearly World War II.  Tens of millions of deaths is such a ridiculous number that it had no meaning to me until I spent time where they occurred.

Mark (Thorn) got the Boob Shirt for getting his ass squeezed by the bar babushka last night.

On the way to Yartsevo we stopped at the Borodino battlefield, where 80,000 people died in one day during Napoleon's 1812 invasion.  The battle was the inspiration for Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

Borodino monument.  As part of the history of the site we learned of the Borodino Long Drop, formerly the foulest toilet known to Contiki but since replaced.  Stuttering Tim dropped his passport down there.

Yartsevo is interesting.  The Oasis hotel consists of two brick buildings at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere.  In the parking lot, "Dodgy Michael" was selling shirts, CDs and vodka out of his trunk.  Matt instructed us not to drink the vodka.  One shirt was the closest thing we had to an official tour shirt, but I didn't like it.

A friend who did this tour two years ago alerted me to the cabaret-style show in store for us, which would possibly include nudity.  Matt also teased that we'd be seeing a very special show.  This led to widespread belief that we'd be seeing something akin to the sex show in Amsterdam, which was not the case.  It was simply the 4 hottest girls in all of Russia dancing for us, alternating with a singer who wasn't hot.

Yuck.  They were so hot my lens warped.

Unfortunately there was no nudity, but still those dancers were pleasing to the eyes.  You can see a stripper pole at the left--we assumed a stripper would be coming out after the intermission, but the intermission turned out to be the end of the show.

Instead of a stripper we got Bushy's famed ski jump.

Eh...good enough.

The Oasis was another Family establishment and had armed guards on patrol (to keep outsiders in line, not us).

At the bar, Bushy fell in love with a giant rabbit and purchased him for 800 rubles.  The rabbit also wore a yellow leader's jersey, and thus he was named Lance after Lance Armstrong.

The beds in this place were loud.  Every little motion resulted in loud creaking.