First day in Moscow
Breakfast, what is it with French pastry, I'm sure they dust everything with icing sugar as Le joke on everyone; "Haw Haw Haw laissez-les essayer de manger ce sans répandre la poudre le sur eux-mêmes, Haw Haw Haw "
After a hearty breakfast, it was wait in the lobby for our tour guide, hoping it wasn't the two clowns (Serge and Alex) from last night. It wasn't, it was a middle aged lady called Alicia. I think Kat was happy it wasn't another hot blonde husband stealer...
First stop was a walk through Red Square. The highlights of Red Square included the statue of Marshal Zhukof, the Modern History Museum and the wall to the Kremlin. Two of the towers have religious icons (paintings) on them, these were supposed to have been destroyed by the Soviets, but it appears that the workers just bricked them up, that was a brave move. It was only last year during some restoration work that these icons were discovered.
We had a look through the famous GUM department store. It is a magnificent building and a bit like the QVB in Sydney, all up-market brands, Louis Vitton, Burbury etc and not a bit Bolshevik at all. In here would be all the Moscow holiday Hayley would need.
We walked around the church of the intercession (St Basil's Cathedral) the most iconic symbol of Moscow ever.
Back into the car and off to see the Church of Christ Our Saviour (there sure are a lot of churches on this tour, a lot of churches in Russia in general. After being suppressed for so long, religion has boomed)
The original church took 40 years to build back in 1812 to commemorate Napoleon's retreat. The communists totally destroyed it and built a swimming pool on the site. After the end of the Soviet era, public donations paid for it to be rebuilt exactly the same as the original, inside art as well. It took four years this time.
From here we drove to a lookout with some great views of the city, the air was clear so the view was excellent. It was very cold though and Alicia kept rousing on me for not having my beanie on. As seems to be normal for everywhere in the world except Australia, where there is a lookout, there are souvenir stalls, here was no exception.
The next stop was the Victory over the Nazis memorial. This is on another hill and was in full blast of the wind and a little cold, I wasn't going to admit to missing my beanie though. This memorial is a ginormous sword sticking up to the sky and a statue of St George killing the dragon. No prizes for guessing who the dragon was, but if you are a bit slow, the dragon has a swastika on it!
From here we walked to the nearest Metro (subway) station, a very careful walk I might add because of the icy paving stones.
The station is 90 m underground and you get to it on one long mother of an escalator. It was actually a bit scary and because it runs in a circular tunnel, your perspective is so out of whack that everyone looks like they are standing and walking at impossible angles. They look like they should fall over backwards.
We took the metro back to the station nearest our hotel, we had to change trains once, a person could get lost down there!
The metro is decorated with art and statues we didn't take any photos as our documentation said it was not allowed. After the tour our guide asked us if we we're indifferent to the famous Metro as we didn't take any photos. When we told her, she said that was incorrect and photos were allowed. We will have to try to get back down there for photos.
Well that was our tour for the day, tomorrow it is the Kremlin and we are looking forward to that.
The next thing was to get a coffee and have afternoon tea. After that we went for a mooch around the streets near the hotel. It is interesting to see how the concept of corner store is interpreted here. There are very small, and I am talking toilet size small, booths set up on the footpaths. The store keeper sits inside with a slide window you conduct business through. There stores sell anything such as bread, vegetables, underwear, mobile phones, flowers, alcohol, chocolate, books, souvenirs and more. They are everywhere and it is like a permanent markets.
Eventually we ended up at a Georgian restaurant for dinner. It was very nice, we didn't really know what we ordered but it was nice. Unfortunately we could only buy wine by the bottle not by the glass, hence this blog being a day late.