July 31, 2007 – Sightseeing in Moscow

The Kremlin in Moscow

The Red Arrow Express, our train from St. Petersburg, pulled into Leningradsky Station in Moscow at 8:00am. We had the whole day before us in the large, bustling, surprising city of Moscow. Without seeing it in recent years, you can’t imagine how large it is, how busy it is, how much traffic there is and how much is all around you. We read English language newspapers that are published in Moscow as we ate breakfast. It seemed like a lot of the articles that we read were suspicious about how Moscow is not really the most expensive city in the world as many magazines and publications have been claiming. But weather it’s the most expensive city or not is a bit beside the point. For most of us, this is our first visit to Russia and we really are surprised and impressed and we can’t wait to tell our friends that this is not what you think it is anymore (i.e. being in Moscow)!

Alex and John capture great photos and memories of RussiaA couple of the most memorable parts of our day in Moscow  - and there were MANY!

We did go to Red Square and saw many of the sights, driving in multiple lanes of traffic in our very comfortable bus. Today was a lot about photography.

Patrick took more photographs than anybody, which was GREAT! Also, John was using his panoramic camera and when he first setup his tripod in Red Square, he was told promptly by a police officer to put it away. However, later we found areas where he could setup his equipment and take panoramic photographs of Moscow. It was an amazing day; we had a lot of fun and surprising sights and scenes and people everywhere. Tonight we are going to relax at the hotel and tomorrow we fly to the Caucasus Mountains where we are going to approach Mt. Elbrus in a totally different part of Russia.

Patrick enjoying his time in the Red Square

We also went to the Gum department store right at Red Square. It went from being a soviet distribution place to being an extremely high-end mall for designer labels. Lida’s profession is retail, fashion and doing displays in beautiful stores such as her own in Edmonton. She was stunned as she walked through the Gum department store and see the level of retailing that right there in the shadow of Lenin’s tomb and in front of the Kremlin.

Lida is amazed with the fashion displays at GUM in Moscow

Visiting the Kremlin was one of the highlights too. When you enter, other than seeing the very official looking walls of the officers, you go into the cathedrals and you see the amazing iconography and the paintings that are centuries and centuries old representing all of Russian history. The beauty was amazing as we heard the acapella monk choir sing in their profound voices inside the Kremlin. It was one of the most powerful moments of the day; we will always remember that.

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