July 15, 2003 - Savoy Hotel, Moscow

The memorial to those lost in the Gulags of Stalin eraI am filing this quick dispatch just before we leave for the airport to fly from Moscow to Minieralnye Vody, in the Caucasus Mountains. We just met for breakfast in the hotel restaurant and I am finalizing packing before we depart.

Richard Wadell said he was going to walk next door to photograph the old KGB headquarter building. Others of the group are telling stories and relaxing before we continue our travels to yet another part of Russia.

Boarding the night train to MoscowI am sending a few photos from our time spent in Moscow yesterday, July 14th. I also have sent a photo taken as we boarded "The Night train to Moscow" at 11:35 pm in St Petersburg on the 13th.

Denio and Spencer decide where to have lunch

St Petersburg was stimulating, and fascinating as always. To walk the streets of that beautiful city this time of year, during the "White Nights", with full light past 11:00 pm is and unforgettable experience.

The Kremlin - three blocks from our hotelIn Moscow yesterday we visited the Red Square and did a driving tour of some of the city’s best sites. We ended the tour at the Kremlin and our walk three blocks from the entrance to the Kremlin, past the Bolshoy theatre, to our hotel was enjoyable. This group is already having great laughs with one another and anticipating the challenges of climbing - learning new skills and practicing old ones soon at "The Russian Chamonix", the Baksan Valley and the Elbrus region of the Caucasus.

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Above: Comet Hale-Bopp over Mt. Elbrus from Pik Terskol, Caucasus, April '97. ©"Observers", AlltheSky.com