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The Russian Federation

I didn't much fancy stopping in this lay-by. The one on the other side of the road also had a burnin... A good quiet road. Two churches under construction at the Katyn monument. Another view of the Katyn monument, with a Polish flag flying. The monument commemorates the mass ex... 5000 km. This is now my longest ever trip. The last few kilometres into Smolensk weren't very pleasant. There traffic was heavy and there were ... Smolensk. I've got away from the traffic now so Smolensk has become much more enjoyable. A little restaurant. I don't know what that building is, with all that pram parking outside. Smolensk. Smolensk. These must be the old city walls. Smolensk. The area around Smolensk's central square havs very little traffic and quite a few bikes. Either the... I think these sculptures belong to the nearby restaurant. From what I can see, this is a fast food restaurant with a traditional Russian theme. Smolensk. Smolensk. Smolensk. Smolensk. Smolensk. Smolensk. Smolensk. There isn't another one of these within 270 km of here. I used the free WiFi in this restaurant and I wasn't the only one. The man on the left here is busy ... Smolensk. Artists painting one of smolensk's many churches. Me performing the rather silly process of making bottles of Coke out of McDonald's Coke.... Smolensk again. This view again but in the daylight and with a row of little children in front. My hotel seems to be claiming to have eight stars. Personally, I would judge it to have a four-star ... Just a few of the large number of motorcyclists who came roaring through the town, flying both Russi... The view from my bed. There are several of these billowing vents in the area around the restaurant. This section of road wasn't much fun. It was a mixture of sand and big pebbles. I couldn't get enoug... Looking down the same hill. The road has improved now and there's a brief lull in the rain. There were four bird boxes like this... Dorogobuz, today's half-way town. A lot of towns around here have pipes like this running through them. I don't know what they carry. ... A factory. The River Dnepr. I have crossed it a few times since Orsha and the name always seems familiar. I don... It's very clear. I can see the bottom. All of my maps show the road being of the same standard in the second half of today's ride as in the... The road is getting worse and narrower. I'm glad I've got my GPS, otherwise I wouldn't have believed I was on the right road. Vyazma, today's destination, is a reasonably large town but this was the only mention of it which I ... Would you believe that this road is marked on my 1:3500000 scale map of the whole of Europe, a map w... At last, the tarmac returns. Unfortunately, just after this, I found that something, presumably a sh... A verst was a unit of 3500 feet, or 1066.8 metres. The places mentioned are Paris, Warsaw and Berlin... I wonder what they race, and why they don't write in Russian. My hotel. The lobby, stairs and corridors look as bad as the outside. The room looks better and the ... Ever since Germany, I have been seeing dead frogs in the road. This one was so well preserved that I... I had an unbelievable amount of trouble with the tyres today. There were three or four ordinary punc... A ruin, like my bike. Sheltering from one of the day's heavier downpours. There were times during the day when it didn't r... There's the rocket! It's a bit blurred in this picture but it's a proper Vostok rocket in launch con... A sculpture in Kaluga, with the moon behind it. More sculptures. This hotel is certainly easier to spot than last night's. It's a very welcome sight indeed. It also ... Rockets at the Space Museum. I knew before the trip started that these rockets would be here, unlike... I think that is another rocket sculpture in the park. Would that be a rocket, by any chance? There is no plaque but I would guess that one of the men prot... Kaluga. A web search showed that there were two bike shops near McDonald's, only about a kilometre from my h... McDonald's number 70. Behind it is the hotel where I had asked to stay in Kaluga. I don't know if it... It's another Saturday and I think this is another wedding party, or at least part of it. There was n... Whatever was in the envelope seemed to be of great interest. This isn't rocket science, for a change. Instead, it's particle physics. The equation at the top, wh... I don't think any of these are the same people who came into McDonald's earlier. Some sound to go wi... Kaluga. A school playground in Kaluga. That's definitely Tsiolkovsky. A little Sputnik graffito. The same wedding that I saw from my balcony earlier. Kaluga. I don't think I've seen a Reebok shop before. Kaluga. Kaluga. Maloyaroslavtsy is the name of this town but why does On the right are some of the many roadside stalls. They normally consist of a small table at the sid... I wonder where they are off to. Approaching Moscow. I wonder how much of that building you get for your 100,000. Moscow! There's some more interesting driving here. The road is only marked with two lanes each way. I decided to get off and walk for this bit. I'm afraid the pictures don't give much of an idea how m... Moscow. Moscow flats. The end of a building full of restaurants and other leisure facilities. The pizza restaurant smells ... At a first impression, the Moscow Metro doesn't look as grand as I had always been led to believe. Moscow. Tonight, I will be staying in this hotel before continuing into the city centre tomrrow. Big, isn't ... Moscow. Moscow. Moscow. In front of the hotel. The view from my room. Moscow doesn't peter out gradually. Instead, it's high-rise towers all the way to the city limits, a... The same view at dawn. I think most of these buildings belong to a technical university. There were a lot of students in th... This is the first time in a while that I've been able to sit and look at my bike while I eat. 71. I remember seeing cages of watermelons like this in St. Petersburg a few years ago. I think this is meant to be a bike lane but I wouldn't get very far if I tried to use it. Part of Moscow Uiversity's main building. The two dials are a thermometer on the left and a baromete... Another view of the University, the tallest academic building in the world. It covers a large area t... The view towards the city centre. Moscow, seen from Sparrow Hills. Moscow, seen from Sparrow Hills. The building in the foreground is the 1980 Olympic stadium. A ski jump. Moscow. A Cyrillic explanation of French pronunciation. bird boxes in a park next to the river. Examples of the different types of tree found in the park. The top level of this bridge is the road shown in picture 2032. The lower level is a Metro station. ... A view from the bridge. A view from the bridge. Moscow. Moscow. Moscow. River cruise boats. I could have some Haribo this evening. My diet comes to an and just a few kilometres from here. Moscow. Buran, the Russian space shuttle. Not the real one, of course. That got crushed when its hangar coll... Moscow. Moscow. Moscow. Moscow. Moscow. Moscow. The Kremlin! The corner of the Kremlin. Moscow. Kremlin. Kremlin. Moscow. Moscow. This isn't a view which reveals itself gradually; you just take one step past the end of the Kremlin... Look, I'm in Moscow! Red Square. Red Square. St. Basil's Cathedral. This stone was attracting a lot of attention from tourists. As I understand it, it's an 18th Century... A street leading off Red Square. The building on the left is the GUM shopping mall. The Kremlin and Lenin's mausoleum. The State Historical Museum, with the Iberia Gate to the right. Red Square. GUM. St. Basil's seen from a distance. Lenin again. One of Red Square's less famous buildings. This is just to show that my bike made it to Moscow too. In case you are wondering, the knobbly thin... Last view of Red Square. The Iberia gate, named not after the Iberia where I started my ride but after a part of Russia with ... This plaque supposedly marks the origin of the Russian road system but, as I explained in Minsk, I d... Manezhnaya Square, separated from Red Square by the museum. Russian hats and Russian dolls. The new Hotel Moskva, on the same site as an earlier hotel of the same name, isn't finished yet. I a... Manezhnaya Square. Me! Manezhnaya Square. The State Duma. This road should be crossed using a subway but there were no ramps and it's not easy carrying my bik... The Bolshoi Theatre. A building in Theatre Square. Somebody removing old lettering from a shop front. My final accommodation is actually a room in somebody's very smart apartment. The hallway of the apartment block doesn't live up to the standard of the apartment's interior. Finding the apartment was an absolute nightmare. It's on the fourth floor behind the locked brown do... Pushkin Square, just metres away from the end point of my trip. This is the end of my bike's journey as a bike. Tomorrow, I'll clean it, dismantle it, wrap it up an... My final goal, restaurant number 72, the biggest McDonald's in Europe and arguably the biggest in th... This part of the restaurant is pretty big and busy. The outside seating area. My goal was to reach this restaurant so technically, as soon as I stepped onto the premises, my miss... The restaurant is bigger than it looks from the outside. There's additional seating here and yet mor... They take great care over the presentation of the cakes here. After this, I'm off to a supermarket t...