Monday, October 19, 2015

From Russia With Love, Part 6

When we reached Moscow I was a bit sorry, as our lovely cruise had come to an end. However, we would be docked three days in Moscow, with tours every day.  The first day we started out after lunch to explore Moscow by subway.  This was the optional more vigorous tour, most of the guests would explore Moscow by bus.  The subway was much less frightening than I expected.  In fact, it was more clean, calm and lovely than New York, and much less crowded than the Tube in London.  Our guide explained that the goal is for a train to come every 90 seconds, and because they came so often there was no crowd on the platform.  I was pleased and surprised to be offered a seat on a train  : )  After a lifetime of commuting by bus and ferry, I make it a point never to refuse an offered seat, so I sat.  I was a bit worried about making it from my seat in the middle of the car to the door in time to get off with my group, but I managed.  We were warned the doors are only open for a few seconds.  We got off at a few stops that had particularly attractive stations.

Mayakovskaya station
Teatralnaya station

We went above ground at Revolution Square and walked to Red Square.  So hard to believe we were there!  In Red Square!  It was quite a bit more lovely than I expected.  Our guide was a young Moscow woman who knew a lot about the history of the area, and was determined to tell us everything, despite the fact that it was getting darker and colder by the minute.  The lovely GUM department store (that's pronounced "goom" not "gum") was right there next to us, and if she would ever finish we would have a chance to go in for a potty break and a rest.

That young woman in the white hat is our guide.  She really was quite knowledgeable, but we were a bit cold and tired.

Here are the buildings around Red Square.  For some reason, I expected solid concrete buildings without the beautiful architecture.

We were shown a white building like the one below where Putin's office is located.  Apparently he only goes there for ceremonial occasions, but when he does, it stops up traffic all around Moscow.  This isn't the building, but it looked similar.

You can see the sky is getting dark - it was 0° Celsius (32° Fahrenheit) and we were cold!

GUM is actually more like an indoor mall than a single store.  We felt right at home with the names of the stores, although they are not places we usually shop in.  Hermes, Versace, Cartier, that sort of store.  We had a nice cafe latte and a chance to get warm.

That evening we were taken to a concert of the Moscow Folk Orchestra.  Amazing!!  This was worth the entire freezing walk!!  These are students and their enthusiasm and talent is obvious.  It was a wonderful evening.  I am posting a video in the hope you can enjoy a short sample of their music.

We had a very late dinner that night, more of a snack really and I think I just had soup, but the dessert was lovely as always.

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