Nicholas Quirke was disappointed. He was arriving in Moscow and had been promised 3 foot of snow and sub zero temperatures. In preparing for the visit he had bought thermals and masks and boots and socks and gloves. He was ready to face ’The Beast’ itself in the East. On the train from Kyiv he had prepared his outfit. New thermals, thermal socks, gloves, his snow boots and a neck scarf. His face mask and ears muffs were at hand should he not be able to withstand the lacerating cold. He arrived to bright sunshine, the mildest of temperatures -1 and no snow. Not a hint of snow! He was reminded of going to New York in the winter and being told ‘Don’t go North’! It will be terrible and you will get stuck in the snow’. It was sunshine all the way. It somehow dimmed his excitement at being in one of the cities, in one of the lands, that had held a mystique for him from a very young age. It was the city of Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Pasternak, Bulgakov. Chekov’s Three Sisters yearned to come here and Stanislavsky trained his actors here and here he was, finally, behind the iron curtain. Which, of course had been opened some time ago but had definitely been the lure for him as a youth. He once again observed that here was a city that had not let go of Christmas. Nicholas later discovered that the Russian Orthodox Church and the state follow the Gregorian Calendar and Christmas is celebrated on January 7th him though why 11 days later it was still like the build up to Christmas was beyond him. Determined not be robbed by a taxi driver again he attempted to use Uber or their equivalent, Yandex which didn’t arrive and instead, wise to their wily ways, negotiated with a taxi driver a fair price which he knew to be around 300 RUB but paid 500, approximately £6. He had thought he was in some nice Bijou hotel La Maison Residence but the Taxi driver dropped him in a back alley with nothing but fire escapes. It felt wrong, and he tried one of the doors the Taxi Driver had pointed to. A helpful Local directed him to the Main Street and got him to his smart residence. He had really landed in the smart area, not the area of bread queues and poverty he had been led to believe the communists kept their citizens in as here was Gucci, and Vuitton, Tiffany and Dior all vying for customers in this festive wonderland. Rested and refreshed from his non stop travels Nicholas set off to accomplish two missions one was a pilgrimage to find the Moscow Arts Theatre, where Stanislavski’s legendary Production of Chekov’s ‘The Seagull’ was staged, a key moment in world theatre. The second was to locate a Vegan Restaurant which again seemed not to be a problem. The world it seemed were all waking up to the Vegan life. As he had in Kiev, without maps to follow, he decided to have a walkabout and see what the streets of Moscow were like. The buildings, like the main boulevards, were immense and as he stood and watched the traffic he was awed by the scale and magnitude of what he saw; it was epic. He took some risks and took a few turnings and eventually found the theatre. He had tried to book tickets online in the UK but it had not been possible and sadly, despite his excitement at being in such a hallowed theatre, it was still not possible. They told him they were sold out. He felt disheartened but also realised that the feelings related to his mounting hunger. So he tried to remember what the Happy Cow map had said and he turned left, right, left and kept straight on till he found Flora no Fauna. Delicious food. He encountered a pop star having a photo shoot and he joined the throng photo shoot for a couple of snaps. Back in his hotel room and preparing for a nights sleep, he discovered the sad Demise of Mr Derek. He’d also took a look at the Moscow Arts Theatre and found some seats for the 20th. With the aid of the hotel concierge he managed to get himself a seat. “But it will be Russian, how will you understand?” The concierge asked. “It’s all about the experience”, he said.